Remember a couple years back, when that plane crashed in that city and killed all those people? And all the news networks talked about it for months? And every guest interviewed on the news said, “I don’t know anything about flying, but let me tell you what that pilot should have done”?
Or maybe you remember that incident not long ago, where doctors tried and failed to save a patient with a rare and deadly disease. After the patient died, “experts” with no medical training, knowledge or experience talked nonstop about what the doctors did wrong. “Those doctors must have no idea what they’re doing. All they had to do was make the patient not die. How hard is that?”
What? You don’t remember those incidents? That’s odd. Maybe you’ll remember this one.
There was this cop once, in some small town somewhere. He stopped a guy for something minor and let him go, then realized the guy was a suspect in a bigger crime and stopped him again. The guy attacked the cop. They fought, and eventually the cop shot and killed the guy.
And for months, people with literally zero training, knowledge or experience with lethal force encounters blathered on about what that cop should have done. They spoke on national media outlets. They wrote articles for newspapers and blogs. They spoke at public events. And they constantly said ridiculous, stupid things like “The officer should have shot Brown in the leg.”
Or “All the officer had to do was use a Taser, baton or pepper spray.”
Or “There’s never a reason to shoot an unarmed person.”
Or “That officer fired six times and there’s no way that can ever be justified.”
Or “That poor young man was executed for stealing cigars.”
Or “The officer must have been lying. An unarmed person would never attack an armed cop.”
Or “The cop should have been put on trial for murder so everyone could see whether he was guilty or not.”
Sound familiar? Could be you’ve heard a little something about this case. I have, and I’m sick of the constant storm of ignorant bullshit being spewed about it.
I don’t mean that I’ve simply heard reasonable criticism of police practices, or honest questions about use of force. The public has every right to question how we police them. But I’ve heard comments so moronic I wonder if the person making them remembers how to breathe without instructions. Since Officer Darren Wilson was no-billed by a Grand Jury, the nonsense has only gotten worse. I don’t want people to stop asking questions, and I’m happy to give answers. But for god’s sake, at least try to find out what the hell you’re talking about before you broadcast your opinion to the entire world.
What’s most frustrating is that dumb comments often come from otherwise intelligent, reasonable people who don’t second-guess pilots, doctors or professionals in other fields. These commenters generally stay in their lane and don’t hold forth about things they know nothing about. But when it comes to law enforcement, they feel completely justified prattling for hours on a subject about which they’re completely blind.
Why the difference? As far as I can tell, it’s because the public respects pilots, doctors and almost all other professionals. But cops? We’re different. Any idiot can be a cop. No intelligence required.
Maybe that belief is due to a lifetime-plus of cultural conditioning. Since before I was born, cops have been portrayed in popular culture as fools. Yes, we’ve also had positive cops on TV and in the movies; even so, not many people know Crockett and Tubbs or Barney Miller, while almost everyone knows Officer Barbrady and Barney Fife. The apparent result of this cultural conditioning is a widespread belief that police work is simple. Much of the public doesn’t know our job is complex, dynamic, challenging and sometimes dangerous; rather, they think it’s dull, plain, and frankly beneath anyone with even average intelligence.
Who knows, maybe police work really is that simple and easy. My experience may be a total fluke. Police work has put me in some of the most mentally and physically demanding situations of my life. I’ve had to fight for survival. I’ve had to talk people out of suicide. I’ve had to anticipate the next moves of desperate fleeing criminals. I’ve had to decipher the terrified, stuttering words of crime victims in a race against the clock to get descriptions out before suspects could get too far from the scene. I’ve had to ignore the horrible suffering of innocent people in order to focus on my task of ensuring the guilty didn’t escape justice. I’ve exercised every ounce of discipline I had and held my fire when a drunk pointed a pistol at me, because I wasn’t sure who was behind him.
None of that was easy. Many of those situations were incredibly complicated. I had to make multiple snap judgments based on training, hard-earned experience, and highly nuanced understanding of human nature and my own biases and weaknesses. I’ve worked with a lot of smart men and women who faced situations just as difficult, and sometimes far more difficult, than those I faced.
I want the public to understand the difficulties, challenges and realities of police work. So I’m going to briefly address some of the ridiculous, moronic misunderstandings that I’ve seen and read. None of what I’m about to write even hints that cops are always right, or that private citizens should never question them; we cops are beholden to the public we serve, and we should answer honest questions from good people (I myself have a LOT of questions and concerns about the Eric Garner case in NYC). I hope my answers help those who truly want to understand why Officer Wilson opened fire that day. But I also hope it encourages rabble-rousing, clueless idiots frantically running their mouths about how police “should” handle lethal force encounters to shut up and swim back to the shallow end of the pool.
“The officer could have just shot Michael Brown in the leg or arm.”
No, he probably couldn’t have. A leg or arm is a small, easy to miss target. Darren Wilson was firing center mass at a large target, and still completely missed with several shots. Even if he had hit Brown’s arm or leg, that wouldn’t have guaranteed Brown would stop, or live. Limb shots rarely immediately disable people. Plus, they can damage an artery and cause death within minutes.
Watch this video of a man bleeding out from a femoral artery shot:
I’ve asked people before, “Name one professional firearms instructor who teaches limb shots.”
So far, nobody has been able to. People who know firearms, the dynamics of lethal force encounters, and the capabilities and limitations of human beings know how difficult it is to shoot a limb under realistic conditions; in a life-or-death encounter, when both you and your opponent are moving, scared and suffering from the physiological effects of stress, you’re not going to be able to hit a limb from any distance. That’s why police are trained to shoot center mass of the largest available target (and under stress we still often miss).
Maybe leg shooting could be done in a very specific situation, like if you and backup officers are facing a cornered suspect armed with a knife. But in a situation where you’re being charged by a large, aggressive suspect who’s already assaulted you? Sure, try a leg shot. I’ll wait until after your funeral to criticize you for it.
And besides, Wilson did (inadvertently) shoot Brown several times in a limb. We all know how that worked. Multiple rounds to his arm didn’t stop him.
“Wilson didn’t have to shoot Brown six times.”
Apparently he did. A grazing wound to the hand had no effect and neither did multiple arm wounds. In movies people get shot and promptly die in dramatic fashion (unless it’s a good guy, then he’ll get a minor shoulder wound and survive). In real life, people can get shot repeatedly and stay in the fight.
Ask Sgt. Timothy Gramins about this gangster who tried to kill him. He took seventeen .45 rounds before finally going down.
In the 1986 Miami FBI shootout, a robber took a non-survivable wound to the chest within the first few seconds of a gunfight. He stayed on his feet, killed two FBI agents and wounded five others, and eventually died several minutes later after being shot twelve times. The Matix-Platt fight has been rightly used by many police agencies as a cautionary tale on a number of levels.
In 1995 a man took twenty .22 rounds from a rifle less than five feet away and survived.
In 1993, police officer Danny Vaughn survived being shot four times in the head with a 9mm pistol.
In this video, which is painful to watch, a man with a rifle kills a deputy on a traffic stop. After the deputy is shot at least once, he manages to shoot the suspect in the abdomen. At around 2:42 you see the suspect’s reaction to being shot: he backs up, touches his stomach, then advances and starts shooting again.
In this video from Oregon, a man tries to kill an officer during a traffic stop (for no reason I can think of). The suspect suffers a fatal wound at :33, yet he continues to maneuver, shoot, run and then drive away. He died half a mile down the road.
Most Americans are so shielded from violence, they actually believe the entertainment industry’s version of what bullets do. We see this even among cops. One of our academy instructors used a cadet in an action/reaction drill a few years back. When the instructor fired a blank at the cadet, the cadet threw himself backward into a wall and dropped to the floor.
When the instructor asked, “Why did you do that?”, the cadet had no answer. But I think I know why he did it: he thought he was supposed to. When you get shot, you get knocked back and fall, right? That’s what people do in the movies. But in real life they often don’t. In fact, sometimes people get shot and don’t even know it. One thing we train to do in law enforcement and the military is check ourselves and each other after a shooting or firefight, because when adrenaline is flowing and bullets are flying you might not feel a bullet wound.
Bottom line, bullets aren’t magic spells that put everyone down with one shot. Six rounds for a large, aggressive suspect isn’t a lot.
“Wilson should have just used a Taser, baton or pepper spray instead of shooting.”
Intermediate weapons don’t always work; just like bullets, they’re not magic spells that instantly drop all criminals. Pepper spray often misses vital areas (or blows back onto the officer), baton strikes fail to have the intended effect, and Taser darts get hung up on thick clothing. Every intermediate weapon can be affected by a multitude of factors such as weather, movement, suspect’s clothing, amount of alcohol or drugs in the suspect’s system, and so on.
I’ve pepper sprayed dozens of suspects; a few melted on the spot, most fought briefly and then gave up, and a few weren’t affected until long after the fight was over. I’ve fought through pepper spray myself, after my field training officer sprayed me in the eyes while I had one cuff on a suspect. Pepper spray in the eyes feels like being stabbed in the brain with an ice pick, but a determined person can keep attacking even after being sprayed.
Here’s a video of an officer being attacked by an unarmed suspect. The officer pepper sprays the suspect, to no effect. The suspect disarmed the officer and beat him with his own weapon. By the way, the officer also shot the suspect in the stomach, to no effect.
Here’s a rather amusing video of a drunk at Disneyland continuing to attack a security guard after being repeatedly pepper sprayed.
And batons? I’ve hit two suspects with batons; both wound up in the hospital, and one had a broken foot. Despite that, both kept advancing and swinging on me even as I was hitting them. The guy with the broken foot (who I had also pepper sprayed) wound up running several blocks on broken bones. The other suspect was pepper sprayed, then hit another officer and almost knocked him out, then hit and almost knocked me out after I hit him numerous times with an Asp baton.
Here are two cops getting beaten by a crowd, despite hitting some of them with batons.
Tasers have their own issues. The darts don’t always penetrate clothing. The darts sometimes don’t get enough spread for a good shock. The Taser itself can malfunction and not deliver a charge. When Tasers work, they work great. When they fail, they fail miserably.
Here are two cops using a Taser on a combative suspect. No effect.
Check out this guy’s reaction to being Tased. “I’ll get you, bitch.”
In this incident, an officer Tased a very large suspect (who was smaller than Michael Brown). The suspect punched and knocked him down, then bit his eyebrow off before the officer shot him.
I think you get the idea. Intermediate weapons aren’t what you grab if you think your life is in danger. Because I live in the real world, I know not to expect any intermediate weapon to always work.
“It’s always wrong to shoot an unarmed person.”
No it isn’t.
This is something I’ve written about before. Because most people have never been in anything worse than a schoolyard scuffle, their concept of a “fight” is two five-year olds slapping each other under the monkey bars. That’s not what a real fight is. In a real fight, you can be beaten unconscious quick. All it takes is one good hit, and you’re completely helpless. That doesn’t mean cops need to shoot all unarmed suspects, but it does mean an unarmed person can present a lethal threat.
In 2012 an unarmed seventeen year old kid, who appears to be pretty small, beat an El Paso police officer to death. The officer was 6’, 275 pounds, twenty-nine years old and a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also in 2012, an unarmed man in Shiner, Texas beat another man to death for raping his daughter.
Earlier this year an unarmed twenty-one year old “felt like killing someone” and beat a random man to death at the San Antonio Amtrak station.
Watch this video, where an officer is beaten badly by an escaped convict. Tell me the officer would have been wrong to use deadly force.
Or how about this. An officer is beaten unconscious during a traffic stop.
In 2011 more people were killed nationwide by “fists, hands, feet” (728) than were killed by rifles of all types, including “assault rifles” (323).
Unarmed people can be extremely dangerous. Anyone who denies that is performing the intellectual equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “Lalalalala I’m not listening to you!”
All the evidence is there. People just have to look at it.
“Brown was executed for stealing cigars.”
No he wasn’t. He was shot because of the amount of resistance he presented to the officer. Yes, Brown was killed after committing a relatively minor offense (by the way, that offense was robbery, not theft; theft + force = robbery). Many police encounters begin with minor offenses but spiral into violence. That violence isn’t in response to the original offense, it’s in response to the suspect’s actions toward the officer.
I’ve arrested a couple of people for murder and used no force at all, because they used no force on me. I’ve arrested people for minor traffic warrants but had to spray, chase or fight them because of their evasion or resistance. The suspect’s actions drive our response.
If I respond to a minor loud noise complaint at an apartment and the homeowner shoots at me as soon as I drive up, I’ll shoot back. If I kill him, it’s not for playing his music too loud. It’s for his resistance toward my lawful actions as an officer.
Saying “Brown was killed for stealing cigars” in no way describes what happened or why Officer Wilson fired his weapon. It’s a deliberate attempt to twist facts and inflame emotions.
“But witnesses said Brown had his hands up when he was shot!”
Yes, some witnesses said that. However, witness statements aren’t automatically true. Witnesses sometimes lie to protect their friends (Dorian Johnson), or make mistakes, or deliberately twist facts to push an agenda. The Grand Jury determined the witnesses testifying to the “hands up” scenario weren’t credible because they admitted they didn’t actually see the shooting, or were too far away to tell what happened, or were repeating what they heard other people say, or their testimony contradicted physical evidence.
Other witnesses said Brown didn’t have his hands up. Those witnesses were deemed credible, because their testimony matched the physical evidence. Credibility is the key to witness testimony.
Last Sunday, venerable political commentator Cokie Roberts, speaking on Meet the Press, emphatically stated “Sixteen of the twenty-nine witnesses said Brown had his hands up!”, as if witness testimony is a popularity contest. It isn’t. If there are literally five hundred witnesses insisting a certain thing happened and none of them are credible, but one witness gives a different account and he is credible, we should believe the one good witness over the five hundred bad ones. If we determined guilt or innocence by the number of people testifying in the suspect’s favor, we’d create a new industry; everyone facing criminal charges would simply hire enough witnesses to keep him out of jail. Fortunately, sheer numbers of witnesses aren’t relevant. The credibility of each individual witness is.
And there’s another factor to this whole “hands up” narrative, a factor I haven’t heard anyone mention yet: Even if Brown put his hands up at some point, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t attack officer Wilson.
Here’s a little fact about human anatomy: shoulder and elbow joints don’t lock in position when you raise your arms. This might be amazing news to some people, but someone can raise their arms as if surrendering and then drop them to attack an officer. Don’t believe me? Try it. Raise your hands. Now bring them back down. Crazy how that works, huh?
I’ve had a suspect comply with my orders to lay on his stomach and put his hands behind his back, then flip over and swing at me. In the first academy I went to an instructor told us, “One of the scariest experiences you’ll ever have is when a suspect smiles, turns around, puts his hands behind his back and says, ‘Go ahead and handcuff me, cop.’” Suspects can feign compliance to let the officer get close enough to hit, or they can simply change their minds and decide to fight or run.
Watch this video from England. A traffic violator complies with all police orders, even to the point of sitting in the back of the patrol car, but then tries to flee and fight. Even while the suspect continues to resist, he keeps yelling “Alright! Alright!” as if he’s complying.
People on both sides of this debate keep talking as if the only question is whether or not Brown had his hands up. Nobody is pointing out the obvious fact that even if he had his hands up briefly, that doesn’t mean he didn’t attack Wilson.
“Wilson must have been lying, an unarmed person would never attack an armed cop.”
For real, player? That happens every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Several videos I linked above show unarmed people attacking armed cops. Here’s another one, where a small kid who’s a big dumbass tries to fight two armed cops.
I’ve been assaulted by several unarmed people even though I was obviously a cop and obviously armed. One might say I was attacked because I was obviously a cop and obviously armed. I agree that, generally speaking, it’s irrational for an unarmed person to attack an armed police officer, but we shouldn’t expect rationality from the irrational.
Tell me it’s rational to commit robbery and risk going to prison for $50 worth of drug paraphernalia. It’s not, but that’s exactly what Michael Brown did. Tell me it’s rational to assault a cop in his patrol car right after you’ve committed a robbery. It’s not, but that’s exactly what Michael Brown did. Every time a prisoner who had done something remarkably stupid, like the guy who threw a cup of gasoline into his two-year old daughter’s eyes during a family disturbance and then ran away instead of helping her, said, “I didn’t do that! Why would I do that?”, my answer was always the same. “Don’t ask me to explain why you did something stupid. I don’t know why you did it. It doesn’t make sense. But you did it, not me. You explain it.”
Michael Brown made stupid choices the day he was shot. He committed several irrational acts. Those acts weren’t unbelievable, they were just irrational. And people do irrational stuff all the time.
“The cop should have been put on trial for murder so everyone could see whether he was guilty or not.”
A Grand Jury determines whether or not enough evidence exists to charge a suspect with a crime. If so, the Grand Jury indicts the suspect. If not, they don’t. They don’t say, “There’s no evidence, but what the hell, let’s just charge the guy and see what happens.”
In America we don’t put people on trial for murder to find out if they should have been put on trial for murder.
One small favor. Please.
So please, people. If you know nothing about police work or lethal violence, don’t talk as if you’re an expert. Don’t ignore numerous documented cases of unarmed people committing murders, people needing to be shot repeatedly before they’re stopped, and intermediate weapons failing. Don’t act like witnesses must be believed simply because they claim to have seen something. Don’t pretend all people always behave rationally. Don’t act like police work is so simple that nobody needs training or experience to understand it.
On August 9th, a kid with more muscles than sense robbed a store and attacked a cop. That cop thought his life was in danger and chose to fire his weapon. The kid died. It had nothing to do with racial profiling. It wasn’t emblematic of “police oppression of minorities”. It wasn’t a rogue, out-of-control cop hell-bent on murdering someone. It was a cop who knew that unarmed people can kill, and that intermediate weapons often fail, and that there was no realistic way he could shoot the kid in the leg. So he fired center mass, until the threat ceased. Those are the facts of this case.
So if you’re totally ignorant of police work and violence but just can’t keep your mouth shut about your fantasy view of it, fine. This is America, where stupidity is legal. I can ask you to shut up, but nobody can make you. My only request, and it’s pretty reasonable, is that you find a little echo chamber of people who think just like you, and spout all your nonsense to them. They’ll love it. You guys will have a ball together. Marriages will probably result. But best of all, I and all the other people who know actual facts and live in the real world with real violence won’t have to hear your BS anymore.
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Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.
Excellent and informative essay.
I come from Scotland and have been a gun owner in the past.
The horrendous Dunblane School shootings were the catalyst for a complete ban of private owernship of handguns in the U.K.
I’ve followed the whole U.S. gun issue with interest, and from my point view I agree whole heartedly on all of your points.
My handgun experience was in “practical pistol” 9mm /.40 SW and I remember vividly a visiting instructor talking about CBM and the decision of some American police forces moving to .40 cal as it had more “stopping power”, I mention this because your points re “hollywoodisation” (hey a new word) tying in in with how many rounds are needed to remove the threat shooting limbs etc.
I would suspect there is no easy answer as there will always be at least two sides to every incident, and two extremes to the argument with the majority of the population being in the middle, educated by celluloid realty
Thanks for the thought provoking article. I agree with your assessment on the Brown case. What is your take on the Garner case. I’m not asking if you think it was racism: it wasn’t. But do you think it was handled with gratuitous aggressiveness?
Incidentally, many years ago, my cousin who has been in police work for over 20 years, once told me that the show that reflected the most realistic portrayal was “Barney Miller” 🙂
A very interesting and articulate article. After military service I too spent some 30 years in British policing and the similarities are so close. Keep up the good work – the policing family needs to occasionally speak up and remind one or two as to why we are there in the first place.
This was written I believe, by an American officer some years ago, but we still use it over here as it says it all.
“The Final Inspection”
The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining.
Just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?”
The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
“No, Lord, I guess I ain’t,
Because those of us who carry badges
can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.
But I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep….
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
If you’ve a place for me here,
Lord, It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t…..I’ll understand.
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
“Step forward now, policeman,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in hell.”
I agree with everything you have written and shown on these film clips to a great capacity. This cannot continue. A person must do what he is told to do by law enforcement.
My big question is, do you have any clips of officers beating anyone ruthlessly when it is unnecessary? Or Officers in the south beating blacks to death?
A history of Mike Brown’s killer was very much covered up. Other people have told of his bad past with black people. Do you have any of these film clips?
How is it that the person with the gun is always the one fearing for his life?
How did we get to this point?
M.L.K. Jr. said : the voice of rioters is the unheard voice. When they were crying out, none would listen. Can we hear them now?
If you would like to know what the Holy Bible says about these issues, let me know. You may be shocked. Remember, Christ had 1st hand experience with this issue and suffered Police brutility.
May even your enemies be at peace with you all the days of your life and may your childern never learn the ways of the lazy man. God Bless.
Reverend K. E. Baker
“I agree with everything you have written and shown on these film clips to a great capacity. This cannot continue. A person must do what he is told to do by law enforcement.”
Not exactly. People only have to do what we say sometimes, under very specific conditions. And what we say to do must be lawful.
“My big question is, do you have any clips of officers beating anyone ruthlessly when it is unnecessary? Or Officers in the south beating blacks to death?”
No, but they’re probably not hard to find. Also not hard to find are videos of black mobs beating innocent whites. Would those videos prove some larger point?
I used the videos in my article to disprove specific claims, such as “unarmed people aren’t a threat”. I didn’t use videos to make some global point about law enforcement. Videos of officers beating black people don’t prove a global point any more than videos of black mobs beating whites do.
“A history of Mike Brown’s killer was very much covered up. Other people have told of his bad past with black people. Do you have any of these film clips?”
Have any of these claims been corroborated with evidence? People have also posted videos of a man they said was Mike Brown holding a gun. That picture wasn’t him. People now are posting a video of a large black man who resembles Brown beating and robbing an older black man. There’s no proof it’s him. So, who cares if people are “saying things” about Brown? “Things” mean nothing if there’s no evidence to back them up.
“How is it that the person with the gun is always the one fearing for his life?”
First, they’re not “always” fearing for their life. Second, you didn’t bother to read my article. Officers are in danger of being disarmed. Over twenty years ago law enforcement suddenly discovered approximately half of all officers shot to death were killed with their own or their partner’s gun. Because of that, we switched from crappy single-snap holsters to modern security holsters with multiple retention devices. A police officer being violently assaulted by an unarmed suspect is in danger of being disarmed and killed.
“How did we get to this point?”
What point? The point you seem to be alleging, where innocent young robbers like Brown are shot for innocently attacking a police officer? Or did you mean the point where otherwise intelligent people rise up in moral indignation because a police officer defended his life against a violent attacker?
“If you would like to know what the Holy Bible says about these issues, let me know. You may be shocked. Remember, Christ had 1st hand experience with this issue and suffered Police brutality.”
I appreciate the offer, but I’m agnostic and am pretty familiar with the bible from my Catholic upbringing. I don’t think the bible has anything to do with this. And the bible might better serve the people who cheered when they heard of the brutal assassination of two innocent NYPD officers.
“May even your enemies be at peace with you all the days of your life and may your childern never learn the ways of the lazy man. God Bless.”
Same to you, and thank you for your concern and your comments. Not joking. I may disagree with you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your input.
Think about this…. Your doing 5 mph over the speed limit, the cop pulls an illegal u turn, forces other drivers off the road with lights and sirens, then pulls you over to tell you how your driving is inproper. If you don’t stop you are running from the police and resisting arrest. If you go to get out of your car and you defend your self you have signed a legal death warrent. I will not trust a police officer. I will always call highway patrol for issues I have. Blue and red lights is not a safe color scheme.
Yes, because state troopers aren’t cops and arguing against a ticket equals instant death.
I have written letters to the editor thanking police when they’ve helped me out, and most of my experiences have been good and a few indifferent, but one very bad and scary one for myself, and a deadly one for a local disabled man, has me dubious about police stories. Short version. I had a cop mistake me for a meth ring operator, when what I actually was, was a driver of orphan’s for CPS, who just happened to have bad teeth. She lied (badly) about why she stopped me, then grabbed my arm, yelling at me to put my hands down while she tried to pull my arm up, so it looked like she was fighting me. She didn’t see the 10 year old child in my back seat, but she did see two brown envelopes, that held gauze, that the dentist that had pulled my tooth the night before had given me, for bleeding. I had my chest crushed in a motorcycle accident the year before. When I plead not to be dragged from the car due to the child, she threw me on the ground, knelt on ribs that hadn’t healed and cuffed me behind my back, that made it very difficult for me to breath. The Police Chief wanted to run for Sheriff on busting a Chewelah to Kettle Falls Meth Ring. I live in Chewelah and was assigned a child from Kettle Falls. The cop wouldn’t press charges, but he did. When she tried to apologize a senior officer (now there were dozens from all over) arrested me for disturbing and resisting. Spent the night in jail. Had cops shine lights in my window, tailgate me and drive up so close to me in parking lots, that if I’d have twitched,their mirrors would have broke, then I’d no doubt be arrested again. The kid got moved. Witnesses were scared. He just got re-elected sheriff. In Spokane, police said a man attacked them in a convenience store with a 2 liter soda. The first ME said the man died of head trauma. She was forced out and a second me said it was “excited delirium that killed the man. Witnesses from local businesses backed the cop’s story. One dissenting cop, later changed his testimony. Then, the store surveillance video was released. It showed the man did zero wrong. Little sheltered air heads that called in to say that a man stole money from an atm, solely because the man looked too poor to have an atm card. The original video that was taken down from Youtube, and purged from KXLY’s video library, showed the cop come up behind the man who was browsing in the store, and start beating him in the head with a baton. The man tries to run, but other cops take him down. The only time that the man had a soda, was when he was being held on his back, he gets one out of a cooler and holds it across his face to block the blows. The city got an expert to crop the video, so you can’t see the blows, then photoshop and blur an empty soda case over the full one that Otto Zehm had opened to get the soda to block the hits. The courts continued the case for five years. The feds came in. Thompson is supposed to be doing 4 years, but I believe he’s out. I was raised and treated well by two shabby men. I have worked with homeless and disabled and have friends with disabilities. It broke my heart to see and I have been advocating for body cameras and strict rules over shutting them off or tampering with them. From the footage you have shown, you must be a fan of the cameras. Merry Christmas, N
DUDE!! That was fucking AWESOME!!!
A FANTASTIC read!!!
At last, one person with a spot on outlook.
Excluding the few cops who get carried away,most are doing their job the best way they can. People don’t realize that a cop’s response to a situation has to be at least one level higher than what he is dealing with. The cop haters are the worst to confront when working alone,trust me on this.
As a retired Fed who has been seriously and permanently injured by an unarmed suspect, I agree with everything you said in the article. Here’s what happened: Thug attacks and tries to disarm and murder cop. Cop wins. The End.
I’m especially impressed by your calm and measured response to the many ignoramuses who have commented here. I personally couldn’t do it.
I was once asked by my SAC if I wanted to be my office’s Public Information Officer. I declined, telling him that it wouldn’t look good when I responded to a question with, “Look, asshole . . . “
You haven’t done that, even though so many commenters deserve it.
I think only a few commenters here were actual assholes, and quite a few others were honest and passionate about a perceived injustice but simply didn’t understand the realities involved. I can talk through honest disagreement all day, and have no problem listening to reasonable arguments from the other side. A good intellectual fight can be fun, as long as it doesn’t get personal.
Thanks for your comment and service, and I hope you’ve recovered as much as possible from your injury.
Thank you for your reply.
Again, my hat is off to you. You have a much higher tolerance for ignorance (sincere or otherwise) than I do.
My injury did not prevent my having a full and rewarding 31-year career, but as a result of it I have been in pain for every second of the past 36 years and will be in pain till I check out. Despite that, I loved my job and couldn’t see myself doing anything else. It’s a violent business we’re in (sometimes) and bad things happen.
@ Mad Duo Chris. Those of us who really do want to know the truth appreciate the information in your article. I had to stop reading some of the stupidity in the responses. What is the goal of people posting on here? Do we want only to be right? or do we want to find solutions and make it better? I had a boss once that said to all of his employees, “Do not come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” Each person responding to this article should ask themselves when writing a response, what can I do to help fix these issues? Am I even interested in fixing it, or do I just feel like complaining and saying ridiculous things that I cannot possibly substantiate simply because I can? As for the race card, I have to tell you, I would never consider myself a racist, I look at statistics and information period. We do have an issue of racism in this world, but it’s not just between African American’s and White. It crosses all societies, sexes, sexual preferences, disabilities and religions. There are racist people in every profession. I prefer to focus my thoughts and energy on those who do great things for all people. When you break it all down it is what you believe within you that counts. It is my firm belief that If you walk down the street (figuratively) saying that the world is against you and you are being oppressed, then that is what will come to you. If you believe you are worthy and good and you behave as such, then that is what will come to you. Just my opinion
Chris, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, Mostly because you write well, and give the “cop point of view” with a healthy dose of reality, which is usually lacking.
I’m not a cop. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not black. I don’t own a gun. My information comes from what I see hear and read. I guess that makes me the typical public that everyone is trying to get to see their side of this.
I see holes in the “cop narrative”. Many of them you have filled in here, but a few remain. Maybe you can fill them in as well. Maybe not.
I’ve read the comments above, and you have pointed to other instances when a shooter was not charged with a crime. In any of those, did the shooter refuse to make a statement for a week after the shooting?
I’m told that officer Wilson waited a week before making a statement of the facts. I’m also told that any good cop will try to get a statement as soon as possible from the shooter, and from any witnesses. The reasons for that seem obvious, but I’ll wait for your comment.
Video shows that when back-up arrived, a crowd had started forming, and they were yelling “he had his hands up! Why did you shoot him?”
So my first question is, why would Wilson be allowed to wait a week, review witness statements and other evidence including forensics, before making a statement? Is that something anyone who shoots another is allowed to do? In that situation, I’m inclined to not believe a word he said. At the very least, his statement should be considered tainted in my opinion. Yours?
My second question goes to your statement that this case was not handled differently because Wilson was a cop.
There is a shooting. Cops roll up, there’s a guy dead, and a guy who shot him. There is a crowd of people shouting that the deceased was shot with his hands up, while unarmed and trying to surrender. The shooter refuses to give a statement.
Are you telling me you would not arrest him and let the court sort it out? Are you saying that a civilian would be allowed to keep his gun to protect himself from the crowd?
I’m told that any decent DA can get a ham sandwich indicted. In fact, that ham sandwich line is apparently a cliche among those who work around courthouses. So, can it be inferred that either the DA didn’t know what he was doing, or that he didn’t want an indictment? Given that he apparently changed his whole way of approaching the GJ for this case, it doesn’t look like justice was blind here.
I don’t know what took place when Wilson rolled up on Brown that day. I don’t know how the situation escalated. Not many do. I do know that the way it was handled from a PR standpoint, with no police report filed, refusing to say who the officer was, letting Wilson wait a week before making a statement, leaving Brown on the street for hours, Rolling out the riot gear as a first response, releasing the store video with the officer’s name, the false pics of “Wilson’s eye socket, etc.etc.etc. , showed very little understanding of their own community, public perception, or how a 24 hour news cycle works. To this day, they have not got in front of the story. They just feed it. Even if Wilson told the golden truth, he and they, made him look guilty but protected to the public.
Now I’m reading rumors that “witness 40” who apparently told Wilson’s version to the GJ, was not at the scene. I read it once and thought… internet. I read it on a second site and thought… Really? Nawwww. That would be too sloppy/stupid for even these guys. Then I saw that “witness 40” has allowed herself to be identified, and they have a pic of her. Now I’m paying attention. That’s how it works with us typical public types.
I’ll address each individual point.
1) “So my first question is, why would Wilson be allowed to wait a week, review witness statements and other evidence including forensics, before making a statement? Is that something anyone who shoots another is allowed to do? In that situation, I’m inclined to not believe a word he said. At the very least, his statement should be considered tainted in my opinion. Yours?”
My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that Wilson did what most cops do after a shooting: he gave a brief statement to investigators summing up the reason he fired, then gave a full statement after conferring with his attorney. The way I’ve seen it done, the officer says “I fired because he was pointing a gun at me, now I’ll wait for the union lawyer before I make a full statement.” That’s what police union attorneys suggest we do, and that’s what a lot of lawyers who take self-defense cases advise private citizens to do after a shooting. I don’t think Wilson had access to all the statements from witnesses, alleged witnesses and forensic evidence; after only a week, the evidence wouldn’t have been analyzed and witnesses were still coming forward. On its face, the claim “he waited a week to make a statement” sounds bad, but in reality it’s what all people involved in self-defense shootings are told to do: give only the bare facts, then wait until you confer with your lawyer.
2) “My second question goes to your statement that this case was not handled differently because Wilson was a cop.
There is a shooting. Cops roll up, there’s a guy dead, and a guy who shot him. There is a crowd of people shouting that the deceased was shot with his hands up, while unarmed and trying to surrender. The shooter refuses to give a statement.
Are you telling me you would not arrest him and let the court sort it out? Are you saying that a civilian would be allowed to keep his gun to protect himself from the crowd?”
There are a couple of important facets to that question. First, you’re right that police shootings are handled differently, because police are a “known quantity”. When the officers arrived on the Wilson shooting scene they knew Wilson’s level of training and experience, knew he was responding to a reported crime, and knew he had identified two suspects and called for backup. So going into it, they wouldn’t have reason to suspect it was a random execution.
Second, an accusation screamed by a crowd is NOT considered credible by itself. Mobs get whipped into a frenzy pretty easily, and people start repeating what they’ve heard others say. I’ll give you two examples, one from my own experience and one from an officer I worked with.
My friend arrived on a rollover accident. A local young man had been ejected and killed. Officers blocked the road and started working the scene. Word spread, and the man’s friends and family started arriving. After the officers had been on the scene several minutes, someone in the crowd started yelling, “He didn’t die in a wreck! The cops killed him!”
The accusation started being repeated through the crowd. Officers had to hold a perimeter to keep people from trying to get the body before it was loaded into a hearse (this was a small town where bodies went straight to a funeral home). When the hearse was loaded and started driving away, people in the crowd ran to their cars and drove after it. Several police cars had to escort the hearse to the funeral home and then block the doors to keep people from forcing their way inside. The spontaneous outburst started with one person screaming a false accusation, which then spread. The fact that numerous people were repeating it did not make it credible.
My experience: I was at a murder scene at a huge club. When we arrived there were over a thousand people in the parking lot, and it was a near-riot. A man had been killed in the parking lot and was still there. We cleared the area around him, called for EMS and checked him for vital signs. He was DOA. A large and aggressive crowd surrounded us and tried to break through to the body. People started yelling “Why haven’t you called an ambulance?” and “They aren’t calling an ambulance because he’s black!” In the meantime, an ambulance had arrived but couldn’t get through the crowd. This was one of the most frustrating, ridiculous experiences of my career: being screamed at by enraged people for refusing to call an ambulance, and no matter how loud I screamed back, “Turn around, the ambulance is behind you!”, I couldn’t even get them to turn and look. As far as they were concerned we didn’t care enough about a dead black man to even call an ambulance, and weren’t interested in hearing or even seeing anything to the contrary. Their loud and repeated accusations weren’t credible.
I’ve had other experiences with mob mentality and all I can tell you is, in my experience, shouted accusation from a crowd usually aren’t true and police certainly aren’t going to make an arrest solely based on them. So yes, I am saying I’m not going to arrest a private citizen based solely on what a crowd is shouting, and I understand if a private citizen says he’s waiting for his attorney to make a full statement. If I don’t have credible witnesses backing physical evidence that shows the private citizen committed a crime, I don’t arrest him. And I’m not going to disarm him before ensuring he’s not in danger from the crowd.
3) “I’m told that any decent DA can get a ham sandwich indicted. In fact, that ham sandwich line is apparently a cliche among those who work around courthouses. So, can it be inferred that either the DA didn’t know what he was doing, or that he didn’t want an indictment? Given that he apparently changed his whole way of approaching the GJ for this case, it doesn’t look like justice was blind here.”
The assumption made here is that there should have been an indictment, but the DA either interfered to ensure there wasn’t one or failed to secure one. Not every self-defense shooting results in an indictment. Numerous self-defense shootings, both by police and private citizens, go before a GJ without resulting in an indictment. If the investigation shows the shooting was justifiable, why would a DA pursue an indictment on someone who followed the law? In this case the DA presented ALL the witnesses to the GJ, even witnesses he believed weren’t credible, so the jurors could make the determination themselves. The jurors decided there was no evidence justifying an indictment against the officer. The DA didn’t “fail”, he presented all the evidence and witness testimony and the end result was no indictment.
4) “I don’t know what took place when Wilson rolled up on Brown that day. I don’t know how the situation escalated. Not many do. I do know that the way it was handled from a PR standpoint, with no police report filed, refusing to say who the officer was, letting Wilson wait a week before making a statement, leaving Brown on the street for hours, Rolling out the riot gear as a first response, releasing the store video with the officer’s name, the false pics of “Wilson’s eye socket, etc.etc.etc. , showed very little understanding of their own community, public perception, or how a 24 hour news cycle works. To this day, they have not got in front of the story. They just feed it. Even if Wilson told the golden truth, he and they, made him look guilty but protected to the public.”
I agree on that. Ferguson PD badly handled the aftermath of that shooting, and it made the situation much worse.
5) “Now I’m reading rumors that ‘witness 40’ who apparently told Wilson’s version to the GJ, was not at the scene. I read it once and thought… internet. I read it on a second site and thought… Really? Nawwww. That would be too sloppy/stupid for even these guys. Then I saw that ‘witness 40’ has allowed herself to be identified, and they have a pic of her. Now I’m paying attention. That’s how it works with us typical public types.”
That’s the first I’ve heard of it, and just looked it up. If that’s true, no question, her credibility should have been torn to shreds by the GJ. And if the GJ based their decision solely on her testimony, then the GJ needs to reconvene. However, there were multiple witnesses (including six black witnesses) who corroborated Wilson’s account of the incident, and whose testimony matched the physical evidence. Basically, in this case there were numerous non-credible pro-Brown witnesses and thus far one possible non-credible pro-Wilson witness. One lying witness, on either side, doesn’t decide this case one way or another.
Thanks for commenting, and I hope my explanations helped.
I read your article and about half of the replies and wanted to make a few comments. First of all, i did read your comments saying you have concerns about the Garner case, and i look forward to reading them when you post them. I am not in law enforcement, and when i was younger, too often i found myself either on the wrong side of it, or simply antagonistic to cops. Fortunately, I grew up and turned things around and became a lawyer. I agree that there was contradictory evidence in hte Brown case, and i agree that it is not the purpose of a trial to prove innocence. But it is also true that it is not the job of a prosecutor to present the defense evidence as well to a grand jury. The prosecutor’s job is to obtain an indictment. It is often said that a prosecutor can get an indictment against a ham sandwich if he/she so chooses. Next, you mentioned in a response to someone that HuffingtonPost readers wouldnt be reading this. But that is not true. I read that site, along with many others. Some i agree with, some i don’t. But your article was posted on the Facebook page of a guy i know who is LEO. That guy is someone i respect, who is candid about his job, is circumspect and who genuinely comes across as someone that can be trusted with the power of the job. But that is in contrast to another guy i know who was a cop who in the end simply was a caricature of all the negative stereotypes out there. The guy who posted this article has opened my eyes on a number of occassions to the nuances and difficult calls that officers have to make. But unfortunately, far too often the average persons interaction with law enforcement is a demeaning, scary experience. With the power and deference given officers, any interaction has the potential to become a life altering moment. I am a white middle-aged professional, and I dread any time I see a police car in my rear view, even if i know I know I am not doing anything illegal. There are far too many instances where what should be a simple encounter becomes something so much more. Often, an officer’s perceived need to maintain total control of a situation means that all reason is lost, that rationality and proportionality are thrown out the window. Then, when the citizen who may have done nothing more than gone a little over the speed limit, or had a little weed, or possibly nothing at all reacts to an officer’s out-of-proportion demand, that encounter suddenly blows up way past where it should have. I fully understand that cops do have a hard job, that you often deal with people at their worst moments in life, that you see the worst of humanity. I also understand that it would be foolish at best to assume people will act rationally. That said, the problem is that too often good cops don’t stand up to bad cops, at least not publicly. The power that comes with the job attracts people for all kinds of reasons, some good, some bad. But when bad cops get away with abuses of power, it damages the respect for the law and law enforcement that a civilized society requires.
Finally, having read a number of the comments above, it is further proof (as if such was needed) that people read into things what they want. I did not read your post as a blanket defense of all cops, but some of the other comments highlight some of the attitudes that contributes to the gulf between the citizenry and law enforcement. Just as “Ernie” (I have no idea if he is in law enforcement) seems to think that only people who think like him are the “good people”, and Monte thinks we are all sheep, these attitudes are as ignorant as Nunya. Except that if I see Nunya on the street, i dont have to give a shit what he says.
I agree with all your points except one. We cops do need to police our own problems, and I think we’re going to see far more internal and external oversight as a result of the Brown case (some of it unfair, but much of it warranted). There are officers who can’t control their egos, and there are officers who escalate rather than de-escalate situations. No argument against any of that.
However, I strongly disagree that a DA’s job is to get an indictment no matter what. The DA’s job is to prosecute crimes. If there is no evidence of a crime, and police on the scene forwarded the case to the GJ without making an arrest or filing charges, is the DA’s job to charge someone no matter what evidence exists showing they were justified?
Earlier I linked to a story about an elderly woman, living alone, who was awakened in the middle of the night by someone pounding on her door. She grabbed a gun, approached the door and yelled that she was armed. The person kept trying to force their way into the house. The woman fired through the door and killed the person. It turned out the guy was her firefighter next-door neighbor, who had just gotten home so drunk he went to the wrong house. The officers who responded determined she was reasonably in fear for her life when she fired, didn’t arrest or charge her, and referred the case to the grand jury. So was the DA’s job in that case to charge her with murder, no matter what?
By the way, I also agree that Nunya is a douche. 🙂 The “sheep” attitude doesn’t help either. That’s why I’ve never jumped on the “I’m a sheepdog” cop thing.
Outstanding, informative story.
Unfortunately, as the idiots and radicals have clearly demonstrated in their comments here, they really don’t care about truth, they don’t care about real justice and they don’t care about facts that prove them wrong.
Essentially, they’re a bunch of anarchist retardates who want this country to pay for imagined, perceived and illogical past sins that have nothing to do with reality.
They’re being well organized nationwide to disrupt and harass the police and the real Americans who make this nation function.
They contribute nothing to the betterment of anything and the damage everything that our founders and most Americans stood and stand for.
I believe that this is an organized and well-funded effort to discredit local law enforcement to the point the Obama, Holder and many Democrats can call for TSA to take over local police departments and sheriffs offices.
It’s clear that Obama, Holder and many, if not most, Democrats are anti-American, anti-cop, anti-white, anti-gun and anti-freedom. I’d like to know who putting up the money for all of this radical activity.
Sadly, lacks and liberals don’t recognize, nor want to recognize, that bad cops are bad cops whether they are dealing with blacks, whites or any other racial group.
Blacks seem to think they are the only ones mistreated by bad cops but it happens to everyone. You don’t hear about it when it happens to people other than blacks because the media chooses to only publicize those incidents involving blacks.
They do so to promote racial tension and to divide the races. The blacks are dupes because they choose to be. Their white sympathizers are naïve, liberal do-gooders who are too stupid to recognize the truth in plain sight.
Sooner or later, they’re going to get their wish and the good people will rebel. Then we all will pay.
I was in the US military from 1978-2009, numerous branches (Active and reserve). 27 1/2 years of LE experience (Patrol, Custody and Corrections) now honorably retired. 22 years SWAT… I’m empty at this point, I feel deeply sorry for the young guys out there pushing patrol cars and walking the beat. I / we kicked the shxt out more than one guy that had it comin and well dumped a few. The public, the politicians and all the azzholes know nothing. It’s all so predictable and pathetic. They Cry how you are a victim, cry me a river. The thugs and gangesters know what we know… They know the naive little stupid sheep stand between them and us as well as justice. You can’t save the stupid from themselves. These peopel voted for prop 47 in California. As they get victimized, raped, shot and beat like dogs. Fxxk em, Fxxk em all!
I’ve read the article and all the comments and I have to say that your points and many of those who have commented are spot on. I’ve been an LEO for about 18 years. No military background. I was also NOT born in the US. Grew up in Europe which gives me a slightly different perspective on things.
Unlike you I have been lucky not to have ever had anyone take a swing at me, which I think is rather odd consider I do work in your typical busy, high crime area. Even in my personal life, I’ve only been in one (arguably) true, and very brief fight.
All that being said. I fully agree with you on all points. I have seen first hand how we often have to make very quick decisions with minimal, often absent, information. Unfortunaly I did have to use deadly force on a suspect a few years back so I’m well aware of the thought process that goes into making such a decision and the aftermath of it.
But that’s just it! many think that we have ample time to make decisions and that said decisions are often influenced, to varying degrees, on whatever personal biases we may have.
Now many cops and cop supporters will quickly say NO WAY. Time is never ample and we do not have any biases influencing what we do.
Well, that’s where I will somewhat disagree. I’ve seen (and been guilty of) rushing into situations that did not need immediate action. Matter of fact, I’ve seen things escalate to a level that it didn’t have to escalate all because we didn’t the foresight to slow down and look for alternatives. I think we have all learned to “slow down” with experience and now try to teach new officers that often times rushing in is not the best avenue of approach.
Thus a valid argument could be made that Wilson, could have waited or done something different. But what we must all realize is that playing the “what if” game can be not only counterproductive but downright ignorant.
In other words, could he have stopped his vehicle further away?. sure. Could he have waited for back up? possibly. If Aaron Rodgers had thrown to his open receivers instead of to covered ones, he wouldn’t have had two picks and may have won the game. If the coaches had selected running plays instead of passing plays they wouln’t have turned the ball over…. etc etc. We can go on like this forever. The problem is that by doing this monday morning quarterbacking thing is that we are 1. justifying or vilifying the officer and 2. not solving anything.
To all those people who claim we are biased or racist, I challenge you to talk, teach, counsel, preach and even demand that ALL people, minority or not, adhere to a very simple concept. When contacted by the police DO AS YOU ARE TOLD WITHOUT ANY VERBAL OR PHYSICAL RESISTANCE. I am positive that such a new approach will lead to a lot less “excessive uses of force”, less arrests and even less contacts with police.
If people did as the police told them, and they still got beat shot or otherwise mistreated then and ONLY then, would they have a valid point of excessive use force. And nowadays a likely very lucrative settlement!
Bottom line is that we do what we do because we believe AT THE TIME of the incident that our actions are the best (not necessarily the only) option, and though we can always approach a situation differently, the end result is all that really matters. Ideally that end result is the bad guy/s going to jail and NO ONE being harmed. Unfortunaly that’s not always the case. Not because we are racist or biased or whatever, but because the people we deal with do not do as we tell them. When you deal with the grazers (deer, sheep, elk and so on) being cautious and trying to appear friendly, safe and as least intimidating as possible is the way to go. But if you are dealing with a predator, well, you HAVE to be more menacing than your foe, otherwise you’ll get mauled. It is that intimidation factor that often keeps us, the bad guys and the public from harm or, from having to harm others. If only people would understand that as embarrasing as it may be, being submissive to the police is the 2nd best way to avoid a confrontation, things like the Ferguson incident wouldn’t happen. By the way, the BEST way is to NOT break the law!
In conclusion, I wish people would realize, that a bias is not a bad thing. How we behave considering our biases IS what matters. I think Grizzly bears are gorgeous yet dangerous man eaters. That IS a bias and because of it, I would never go try to pet one. Is it possible that a Grizzly may let me and even want me to pet it? sure. But I’m still not taking the chance. A bias is nothing more than an instinctual survival mechanism in humans and animals. Without biases, preconcived notions and our ability to make judgements based on limited information we literally could NOT survive, much less thrive on this planet.
Anyways, I know this is a lot of rambling and probably only makes sense to me, but I’ve gotten so fed up that I’ve been dying to throw my 2 cents in.
Again, thanks for your perspective and for providing a forum for me to vent!
peace and stay safe
There is one common denominator in all of these situations. The subject DID NOT comply with the officers instructions. Had they we would not be having this conversation. If one feels “wronged” the time to address any issues is after the stop. The other issue is a total disrespect for those in positions of authority. Again if one feels their rights were violated there are ways to go about getting justice.
1st I mostly agree with you (the author). However, I must address your statement, “Why the difference? As far as I can tell, it’s because the public respects pilots, doctors and almost all other professionals. But cops? We’re different. Any idiot can be a cop. No intelligence required.” NO! The reason is (whether justifiable or not in your opinion) those other professionals rarely have the ability to intrude on our personal lives without our consent and with little ability to defend ourselves. The police hold a special place in society that grants them very special powers to intrude on our lives. This effects EVERY citizen, and thus every citizen’s opinion should matter. There has been growing evidence of police going too far (I do not believe this is one of those examples mind you) and of our rights being trampled. I do not believe this is all the fault of the police, but also of bureaucrat politicians and the people themselves. for example, the general police force should not be stopping people for tax issues (ie selling untaxed cigarettes). If they were not empowered to do so, it doesn’t matter who is at fault when a guy gets choked to death as the stop would never have occurred. Don’t get e wrong in most of these cases (popular right now) much of the fault lies with the way people react to teh police. But do you remember the cop that shot the guy who was bleeding, in shock, and begging for help? just so the officer wouldn’t get blood on himself. Police need more training in deescalation, and recognizing individuals with mental illness, or who are in medical distress. While I am not a police officer, I have been trained in positions with arrest authority. To summarize, police hold a special position that effects the entire public and therefore should be subject to a higher level of scrutiny by those they may effect (ie everyone). Have a great day.
I understand and agree with your point about police being scrutinized more because of our interactions with the public. But my complaint wasn’t about us being questioned or scrutinized. It was about people pronouncing “facts” about how we should handle violent incidents, based on no training, experience or knowledge at all. My issue isn’t with questioning police, it’s with people dictating procedure to police while having no idea what they’re talking about.
I also strongly agree with your statement about us needing more training in de-escalation, recognizing mental illness and those in medical distress.
Thank you for your comment and you have a great day as well.
Great article. As a somewhat educated citizen, I would love it if people actually knew something about what they are talking about before producing an opinion. That goes double for those who have a newspaper, microphone, or television camera. I had a real problem recently with someone who continually used the phrase, “Choked to death,” even when the facts of the case clearly showed that that didn’t actually happen. He actually dismissed my complaint, stating that it didn’t matter if the words he used were “technically correct” or not. So yes, I wish that people would at least attempt to have actual knowledge on which to base an opinion, but experience and many of the comments here show that wish is going to remain exactly that. A wish.
Excellent article. It hit home with those of us who become complacent in our day to day tasks. In general, there are few forms of employment in the job universe that have an actual acute likley-hood of encountering physical violence/death.
The general public is getting riled up about the examples and the the fact that they are supported. Folks, these examples are just to show what is possible. Not that it happened in the particular case but that anything is possible. Overall, you’ll notice that no one is nominating anyone here for saint-hood.
What is see being narrowly missed is the interpretation of the crime. Police are humans with police expierences that are good yet horrific in nature. Honestly, the lives people at home everyday due to poverty or mental heath issues among others can be no less horrific.
Case #1: When a crime is committed against a person, if the vicitm has never been vicitmized before you expect the victim would lose the fight or be shocked bacause of something called observational bias; people, in general, don’t know how to react to things they have never seen before.
Case #2:When a crime is commited to a victim who is repeatedly vicitmized there is usually a measured escallation in responce with each incident of victimization. ie: convenience store is robbed 40 times a year, the owners will put in magnet locks and/or arm them selves if it is leagal in thier location.
So in cases of crimes against law enforcement ( assualting a police officer) where in these two areas do they fall?.
The general public or citizenship tends to fall under case #1 , their perception although educated and not incorrect. It is hapered by the lack of understanding of how re-vicitmization effects human judgement.
Law Enformcent, military , etc… they fall under case #2. Here are a group of people dedicated to putting themselves in the way of crime against the public and law enforcement absorbs those expierences. How do they cope? through training, comradery, and medical resources.
Lastly. Something was missed however it was observed. How would you feel in any circumstance as a possible victim. This ability is called cognitive awareness. Are you able to understand how people are feeling even if your not in their shoes?
In this article you observe the evidence that it is possible to feel bad for police officers becuase of what they have to do. This article simplifies it so that people without cognitigve awareness can understand. criminals do hurt people, not only cops…. who are also people!
If you want to know more about how a police officer feels when placed in a dangerous situation i suggest you re-watch this excellent articles videos, keeping in mind how you would feel if that was you on both sides of the badge. Not just one side.
furthermore, racisim is a problem all around the world. Opression is rampant and it is horrible the only measured way to rise above it is to address it. Racisim may be a huge issue in ferguson, and i belive it is a huge issue. Look at the amount of people protesting, it must be. I think it is false to weigh the communities problems on an individual case. Yet, it still does exist so here is why this straw broke the camels back.
Humans, smart or otherwise have a necessity to evaluate and measure thier current situation. Its the reason we are different than all other mammals known on the planet. We learn from our mistakes inter-generationally. Do you see any other mammal protesting?
This is a good thing, however, its a hard way to deal with a bad issue. In a place opressed with racisim its not hard to imagine why this would get hash tagged in with the ferguson case, opportunisim is also a basic human nature.
There are problems in ferguson and abroad with racisim. However, even though the people of ferguson need a change in thier community, they won;t find it with the shooting. becuase it was simply found to be a case of Good vs Bad. Not black Vs white.
Police officers reading this need to understand. Even though you may do everything right you always need to be doing better. You need to help everyone, even if the person opposing you is trying to harm you. When diplomacy fails or impossible all things being equal, fair is fair, constitutionally.
If your locking for someone to call them selves an expert you’ll find a show of hands that you can’t count. Ask for someone expierenced, thats much harder to find. Experts give opinions , expierence gives observations. Experts at times are the tabloids of news media. Be careful.
I am a police officer, husband, father, volunteer, among many other things, I am going home the end of my shift unless my duty calls me so my name will be embossed in the hearts of those who love me, not for what i do but for who i am. Becuase i recognize this i can fight for others in a way that will ensure i do survive the dangers that face me every day.
Stay Safe and Train Train Train
Outstanding article if you ignore the foul language and responses from the uninformed sheep and wolves. Well done.
I appreciate your perspective and the information you provided to back it up. I believe that the information you share to counter the dumb statements people make about this case is useful.
However, you seem to fall in the same trap that you accuse these people of doing at the end of your article.
“It had nothing to do with racial profiling. It wasn’t emblematic of “police oppression of minorities”.”
Are you an expert on these issues? What research have you done regarding racial profiling or regarding police oppression? Do you understand that the officer may have completely been within the range of what was necessary but it still could be a racially-related incident?
Some of the videos above provide evidence that there is a range of response to the situation. For example, using the Taser, as you note, might note have worked. But it also might have. As you state, sometimes it works great, and while I don’t have a video, do you doubt that other officers have successfully used a Taser in similar situations? Is it possible that part of the reason the officer went for a gun rather than a Taser was the color of the person’s skin? Because like we have painted cops often as idiots in society, we have often portrayed African-Americans as violent?
I’m not an expert on racial profiling or police oppression. However, we don’t have evidence of either of those in this case. Brown was initially just talked to about walking in the street, which even Dorian Johnson admitted they were doing. Wilson didn’t stop, search or arrest them, he just told them to get out of the street. He made the stop after recognizing Brown was a suspect in a crime. That’s not racial profiling, that’s a police officer doing his job. Considering that Brown assaulted him before he even got out of his car, I don’t see how this could be about Wilson oppressing Brown. I also don’t see how “painting blacks as violent” was to blame for anything. Brown was in fact violent. He assaulted two people within minutes that day, and even after breaking and running from the second assault he chose to turn back and advance again. As another commenters stated, he probably wasn’t running at Wilson to give him a hug. Wilson didn’t have a Taser and chose to use his pistol rather than an intermediate weapon. That’s not an unreasonable decision for an officer facing a very large, strong and aggressive suspect who has already assaulted him.
If you’re going to accuse or assume someone of committing a racially-related offense, you need actual evidence to support that claim. Simply saying “it’s possible” doesn’t support it, either legally or logically. Since August 9th, journalists have been desperately searching for any indication Wilson was a racist. Thus far, the only thing they’ve been able to find is that Wilson worked for a police department that was disbanded, yet was never in trouble himself.
On the other hand, Brown did leave indications he was violent and specifically disliked police officers. His rap lyrics are available online. Here are some quotes from an article about his songs:
“The chorus is taken from the popular song, Bad Boys,’ but instead they sing, ‘shit talker, shit talker, whatcha gonna do? when a real killa killa come for you?’”
“This one specifically talks about killing people and how fun it is. The main rapper talks about how his favorite part of killing people is when they hit the ground.”
“Bad boys” has been used in reference to police since Cops premièred decades ago. Two police-themed movies named “Bad Boys” have been made. I think we can reasonably assume the “bad boys” song sampled by Brown was about police, and the “watcha gonna do when a real killa killa comes for you” refers to what he would do when he encountered a police officer. Of course, his family and other supporters have presented his rap lyrics as him just mimicking other rappers, stated it was just an act, and emphasized that he also rapped about school and family. So is Brown’s mindset as displayed by his rap lyrics an indication of his mindset, or does that not matter? If Wilson had left any type of record of racism, would you or anyone else disregard it?
You admit that Wilson’s actions may have been justified, yet could still be racially motivated. I only ask, what is your evidence for that supposition? Brown could have assaulted the store clerk because he hated that clerk’s ethnic group, but we don’t have evidence for that so we don’t accuse him of it. Sure, Wilson “could have” had some kind of racial motivation, but what evidence is there? Wilson stopped Brown, who fit the description of a suspect. Brown was in fact that suspect. Brown immediately assaulted Wilson, not the other way around. So again, where is the evidence to support Wilson’s alleged racial bias?
By the way, please don’t take my response as anything other than respectful. I appreciate your comment and hope you continue this debate.
I think one of the key things to understand is that I am not saying that the officer was consciously racist or that racism was the sole guiding force in the response. As you lay out, Brown’s violent response precipitated the officer’s actions.
My argument is that officers’ responses to African Americans appear to be heightened overall when compared to their response to whites. This Vox article is one example: http://www.vox.com/2014/8/21/6051043/how-many-people-killed-police-statistics-homicide-official-black
Part of the increase in numbers is that more violent crime happens in African American communities (which is related, but a whole other can of worms to go into). However, I think the part of the article that breaks the numbers down for those who are not attacking when killed is suggestive evidence. It’s not the best evidence. The article covers some of this, and better would be to look at cases of resisting arrest and how many of those result in someone’s death, then look at the racial make-ups, but that data (as far as I know) is not available. Beyond people killed by officers, there is quite a bit of evidence out there about bias in US society against African Americans (for example, see research on traffic stops and race, or hiring practices and perceived race based on name).
It is possible in this case, or in any one of the other cases in the news right now, that race played absolutely no role in the incident. However, statistically, and realistically, it is likely that race played a role in some of them. Race playing a role does not mean that the officer involved was a banner-carrying member of the KKK. All it has to mean is a change, even small, in assessment of the situation. In one situation, that change in assessment may not result in a change of outcome; but over a large number of cases, outcomes will shift. And that does appear to be what we are seeing.
Finally, I think if you read my response above, you will note that I actually do not say this IS a race-related incident. My concern is that people who have not made a study of race issues are quick to jump in and judge and say either it is or isn’t. This is the same thing you are calling out regarding people judging cops. You admit to not being an expert on racial issues, so why stake the claim that this issue was not about race or emblematic of oppression? I certainly would agree that it was not ONLY about those things, but I don’t think either of us has the expertise or information to make the definitive call on race being involved.
My question is, if there is no indication that Wilson acted out of racial bias, why assume it? Why even inject it as a possibility, especially if the only way to rule it out is literally impossible? According to you, Wilson may have acted based on an unconscious bias. So how can anyone prove that they don’t have a bias they don’t even know they have? That’s a logical impossibility, and illogical to begin with. Nobody has to prove lack of bias. If there is no indication, there is no reason to make the accusation.
This is dangerously close to the “thought criminal” mentality. “You did everything right, and you weren’t at fault, but you might be racist even though you don’t know you are, so I’m going to subtly accuse you of it. Now you have to prove you’re not.”
Going further, I could point out that some of the black community has historically shown negative feelings toward other minorities. Farrakhan called Jews “bloodsuckers” and a black mob murdered a random Jewish man in NYC, blacks targeted Korean store owners during the LA riots, and negative attitudes toward Asian store owners are jokingly shown in the movie Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (great movie, by the way). Michael Brown assaulted and robbed a clerk who appears to be south Asian. Because of historical examples of black hostility toward Asians, should we assume Brown was motivated to act by conscious or unconscious racial bias? Had Brown lived, would he be required to prove he’s not racially biased?
Or should we not assume racial bias unless he personally shows an indication of it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proclaiming the system to be perfect. If you’re looking for an example of probable racial bias, the South Carolina case, where a trooper shot an innocent black motorist for following directions to get his license, is a better example. But in THIS case, with THIS officer, where is the evidence to suggest he was motivated by racial bias? We agree that Brown precipitated the incident by committing the robbery, and by assaulting the officer. We agree (I think) that no evidence of racial bias on Wilson’s part exists.
So why does Wilson have to prove he’s not racist? And what evidence could he offer that would convince you, or anyone else who assumes racial bias?
I said this isn’t emblematic of police oppression of minorities because there is no evidence to suggest racism was involved. Therefore, there is no reason to assume it. You, on the other hand, said this:
“I think one of the key things to understand is that I am not saying that the officer was consciously racist or that racism was the sole guiding force in the response.”
What is your evidence that racial bias was a guiding force at all?
By the way, thank you again for commenting. I appreciate and enjoy your contribution to the discussion.
“Defendants and their attorneys do not have the right to appear before the grand jury.” – source: http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/get-informed/federal-court-basics/jury-service-federal-courts/comparing-trial-juries-grand-juries.aspx
Wilson wasn’t a criminal defendant. If he had been arrested and charged earlier, then he would have been. He was never charged with a crime.
Nope. You’re citing law and pointing out a supposed discrepancy. I’m pointing out that law doesn’t apply because Wilson was never a criminal defendant. The same thing happens in grand juries here after an apparently justifiable shooting. That’s not pedantry, that’s law.
I’m pointing out that whether or not you can be overly pedantic and say “he’s technically not a defendant yet” during a grand jury trial for him, he received different treatment than a normal citizen would. You can continue to attempt to justify that all you like, it’s still wrong.
He wasn’t “technically” not a defendant, HE WASN’T A DEFENDANT. Do you think everyone who shoots or kills someone (except cops) automatically gets charged with murder, but we cops get a pass? Look back at the articles I linked. The father who beat his daughter’s rapist to death wasn’t charged with a crime, the case was referred to the Grand Jury without charges. I’ve been on a scene where a man shot an unarmed black teenager because the teenager was high on PCP and kicked his back door in in the middle of the night. No charges. Referred to the grand jury. HE WAS NOT A DEFENDANT. Look at the article I linked in another comment, about the elderly woman who killed her drunken firefighter neighbor when he mistakenly tried to force his way into her house in the middle of the night. No charges. Referred to grand jury. SHE WASN’T A DEFENDANT. This isn’t a technical difference. If you haven’t been charged with a crime, you’re not a defendant. If you’re going to cite law as proof of wrongdoing, at least try to find out what the law means.
I’m not justifying anything. I’m not being pedantic. I’m telling you you’re factually incorrect.
The article you linked mentions nothing of whether or not that man testified in his own defense at the grand jury hearing. I bet he didn’t… because that doesn’t happen for normal citizens. Also, there should have been an indictment. He killed someone, that’s a crime. There was certainly probable cause. That should have gone to trial and, in all seriousness, the jury probably should have convicted him of manslaughter or perhaps nullified if they really felt he was justified and that the law couldn’t serve the interests of justice.
You are being pedantic. You’re saying that at the point of a grand jury trial, you can’t be a defendant since formal charges have yet to be brought against you. Why would the court website refer to a defendant if, as you claim, no defendant yet exists? Obviously this refers to the accused person.
Neither of us knows whether or not he testified. You can bet all you want, that doesn’t make your argument carry more weight. And it took me about thirty seconds on Google to find this case, where a “normal citizen” did testify before a grand jury after killing two burglars:
“Horn testified before the grand jury for about 1½ hours last week, Lambright said.”
Here’s another, older case where Tony Geckle, a “normal citizen”, testified before a grand jury after a self-defense shooting:
“The jurors reviewed written statements and heard about five hours of closed-door testimony from Baltimore County homicide detectives, one of the wounded suspects and Tony Geckle.”
This law firm in Texas specifically states they’ll help citizens prepare for grand jury appearances after a self-defense shooting:
“Our law firm will vigorously defend you whether the incident occurred on your property, in a roadside incident, in a public venue or wherever. We can prepare you to testify in grand jury proceedings to hopefully convince the jury to return a no bill (no charges).”
Once again, you’re factually incorrect in your assertion. “Normal citizens” do in fact testify before grand juries after self-defense shootings. The fact that I’ve proven you wrong (again) won’t change your mind, as you’ve shown in the past. But maybe after you read this a few times it’ll start to sink in.
But anyway, I think we’ve found the source of this conflict of opinion between us. You fundamentally misunderstand criminal law, which you proved by saying this:
“Also, there should have been an indictment. He killed someone, that’s a crime.”
Again, you are factually incorrect. Killing is not always a crime. Should the elderly woman who killed her drunk neighbor in the middle of the night have been arrested and charged with murder? Should the homeowner I talked about, who shot the high-on-PCP guy kicking his door in in the middle of night, have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault/deadly weapon?
You might inexplicably answer yes to those. And I strongly suspect you’re a devotee of the “white male Christians are the source of all evil in the world” mindset that’s so popular in our universities. So I’ll engineer a hypothetical you might appreciate:
A black man is home sleeping at 2 am when he hears a commotion outside. He’s been threatened by local Klansmen in the past because he’s living in a formerly all-white neighborhood. He looks out the window and sees a group of people in white Klan robes erecting a cross in his yard. Another man is holding what looks like a Molotov cocktail and makes a motion as if he’s trying to light it. The homeowner’s wife and children are in the house and he fears the house is about to be set on fire. He grabs a hunting rifle and shoots the man with the Molotov cocktail. The man falls dead, and the others flee. Officer Hernandez then arrives. Hernandez sees the dead man in a Klan robe with a Molotov cocktail in one hand and a lighter in the other. A cross is standing in the front yard and has been soaked in gasoline. The black homeowner tells Hernandez what happened. Neighbors come outside and corroborate the homeowner’s story.
Should Officer Hernandez arrest the homeowner and charge him with murder? After all, “He killed someone, that’s a crime.” Right?
And no, I’m still not being pedantic. You don’t understand these concepts you’re preaching to me about. There is no grand jury “trial”. A GJ determines whether or not enough evidence exists to bring a case to trial. Some cases that go before a GJ already have a defendant. If I arrive on a domestic murder scene and arrest and charge the husband with murder, in that case there is a defendant. The case goes before the GJ to determine if enough evidence exists to bring the case against the husband to trial. If it’s a self-defense shooting where there is no probable cause to arrest or charge at the scene, the case will be presented to the GJ even though there is no criminal defendant. The GJ will determine if the person who appeared to act in self-defense should be charged with a crime and brought to trial.
Maybe you should study this a little more before you comment again.
I’m way late to this article, but if I’m reading it someone else will be too.
Chris, you’re responding to “anonymous” incorrectly here.
Aside: I’m about to reply to another comment, one where the commenter explains why he doesn’t trust cops and won’t involve them if possible. So I’ll give my own background in condensed form here, more detail there. I have the same experience, never had a cop help me ever. I don’t trust them as a group.
But that’s irrelevant.
What’s relevant here is that this Grand Jury proceeding was irregular, in that the prosecutor decided to put more than the required evidence on record. “Irregular” doesn’t mean “wrong”. But “anonymous” is still correct, Chris.
Use some common sense, though. What neither you nor he are pointing out is that under normal circumstances the prosecutor would never have brought this to a GJ, and actually if he doesn’t think he can get a prosecution he *should not* try to get an indictment. Why did he, in this case, then? Because if he didn’t, he’d have been lynched in the press. Any normally intelligent person can see he brought the case to the GJ, and presented *all* evidence, as a political move to allow the GJ to make the call he would normally make.
It’s unusual. It isn’t wrong.
Note 1: Scalia’s opinion that’s being quoted regarding “not required to present exculpatory evidence” does not mean “not allowed”.
Note 2: A man has to learn to take the world as it is, and get along with his neighbor. I’m very angry about this situation. But I’m coming to see it’s the fault of people like the “academic” here. I’ll why explain in another comment.
Note 3: just venting
* “if he doesn’t think he can get a prosecution” – I meant, “if he doesn’t think he can get a conviction”. sorry.
I skipped most of the article because the only argument made with which I have contention was that the case should not have gone to trial. If you look back at all the grand jury hearings ever, you’ll notice that the presentation of exculpatory evidence by the prosecution isn’t something that happens for everybody. Personally, I think the bias was more toward giving an officer the benefit of the doubt than toward the officers race, but regardless the law shouldn’t treat it’s enforcement officers differently from its citizens. So I maintain that this should have gone to trial to be sorted out there as it likely would have had the situation been the same only not involved a badge. The Martin/Zimmerman thing was similar, but unfortunately Florida has weird laws about grand jury hearings and they didn’t have one. Anyway, examine similar cases and see how common it is for regular citizens to have exculpatory evidence presented by the prosecution at their grand jury hearings.
It’s not “exculpatory evidence”. The grand jurors heard all accounts of what happened, and saw all physical evidence and analysis. Are you suggesting they shouldn’t have been shown any evidence or heard any witness testimony that corroborated his account of the shooting?
Yes, because that’s exactly what would have been done for any regular citizen.
It’s actually uncommon for a defendant to testify at a grand jury hearing. It isn’t their right and it usually isn’t in the prosecution’s best interests, so it usually doesn’t happen.
I appreciate you compiling these videosfor us to see first hand the troubles officers face. Its truly the most stressful and life threatening job on the planet. You never know what would happen at any time. But I would argue, that becoming a police officer and accepting that risk is a choice. It’s a police officers duty to risk their life in order to save others. I’m not advocating that officers stop defending themselves from hard criminals, but that they be safer in the eay they handle things.
The videos you have provided are shown to officers all the time, and to be honest there are far less of these events than there are controversial police shootings. However LEOs are constantly fed the narritive that the world or community they work in is out to get them, that is a toxic mindset and often leads to the escalation of force by the officer beyond where it needs to go. Every officer is not a bad officer, but just as the bad apples in the public end up on these videos and in your article; the bad apples in law enforcement show their true colors once in a while. Recently in my area 4 or 5 officers have been suspended because of racially charged comments they made. These guys should simply find another occupation, policing is not the profession for them. Likewise, there are many people who are conditioned to hate the police. Children who have only ever seen the police take their parents away to jail or take someone down, without an educated source if guidance around they will not have the chance to hear why their mom went to jail. There is no one to say “your mom did something illegal, so now she has to go to jail for it” and so blind resentment is festered until it compounds and ends up on a video in a officer briefing about use of force. There has to be overarching change to both sides, but military types aren’t very open to change or being told theur way is wrong so it may never happen.
Best article ever! I have had these exact conversations with know-it-all perpetual college students. One even went so far as to say he could have fought off a teenager with a rolled up newspaper. I suggested he find one the size Abe demeanor of Brown abs try it. Now I can just send them your article, not that they read it, but it would make me feel better.
Stupid auto-correct. Please forgive the typos above. I should have proofread it first. Sorry.
Thanks for this! Wish I could have written this, but I have neither the experience nor the information to do it well. I can’t say anyone will have their minds changed by it, unfortunately, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile an effort.
Very good read.
Should be turned into a documentary and shown on TV so more could see and possibly understand a little better.
THANK YOU, Chris Hernandez. You put into written form what was swimming around in my head for several weeks now.
I appreciate that William, thank you.
Thank You–awesome article. Spoken from one that knows!! Appreciate your service!
I enjoyed reading your work, respecting most of all the obvious thoughtfulness you exercised in the details of your essay. This was a tragic situation, but most of the statements and actions that followed were perpetrated with ignorant or ulterior motives unrelated to the facts of the sparking incident. My time on this spinning rock has slowly taught me that most negative issues persons and communities have and use as drivers live and thrive in ignorance. However, the beautiful flip side of this cancer is the simple, powerful, personal ability of critical thinking. Agree or disagree with your post or intelligent comments above, discussions such as these are powerful and life changing. Those who think for themselves regardless of their station or creed, allow themselves to question everything, and those who are willing to learn, ultimately find that plentiful but rarely sought jewel: the truth. Granted, this side of the veil we cannot understand the “hearts of men,” but there is right and wrong that needs to be grasped and illuminated. If we -as people rowing together this boat called life- can grasp this truth and drag it from the distorting greed of the powers of this world, we can live together lovingly, or perhaps it can at least retard us in making rash, uneducated, bigoted statements and actions.
“In America we don’t put people on trial for murder to find out if they should have been put on trial for murder.”
Well, police do this all the time to their arrestees. This is precisely why people know (most) cops are morons, you think the law applies differently to you and your corrupt brethren. Have yoy ever heard a cop give the same benefit of the doubt to anyone else (other than their fellow cops) who killed someone? We put people on trial to determine guilt, but the blue wall of silence feels the legal system applies differently to them. If anything, police should be automatically more suspect as they know how to, and frequently do, skirt the law. Also, how many of the murder suspects that you arrest get the benefit a grand jury? Also, before you dismiss my statement, I do not support the Ferguson protesters and think this shooting may have been justified. It would be nice,though, to see (for once) a cop who doesn’t think he’s above the law. The idiot who wrote this article clearly thinks the law applies less to him than American citizens. Innocent people get shot and killed by police every day.
Police don’t put people on trial, the District or Prosecuting Attorney does. If the officer makes an arrest but there isn’t sufficient evidence to sustain a charge, the person isn’t put on trial. That law doesn’t apply differently to me or other cops. That’s why Wilson was no-billed, because there was insufficient evidence to charge him with murder. Two officers I know of over the last year were charged with a crime for shooting suspects (and one victim wasn’t even a suspect, he was an innocent motorist). Does the same benefit of the doubt apply to others? In Texas it certainly does. Here’s a case where a woman killed someone she thought was breaking into her home. The drunk wound up being an off-duty firefighter who was at the wrong house. No charges.
Every murder suspect I arrest gets the benfit of a grand jury. The GJ determines whether or not the case goes to trial.
Please cite what I wrote that “clearly shows” I think the law applies differently to me. And please back your claim that police kill innocent people every day.
I agree with you. My ex tried to kill me and it took 7 officers to take him down, plus they had to stop on the way to the jail house to subdue him. Thank god for our law enforcement and that my ex is no longer in the picture.
Seriously…in the first video, the cop that shot and killed the suspect was named Darren Wilson. Wow.
I cannot believe that motorcyclist from England only got 9 months for that, that’s crazy. Good read, compiles a lot of what I thought and more into a well-organized read.
How ar away from the officer was Browne when the first shot hit him outside the car? How far away was Browne from the officer when he hit the ground and died? How far away was Browne from the officer when he began to charge the officer?? These questions I have not heard asked nor answered to my satisfaction
Then you did not bother yourself to search for the facts.
I will help you out: The Grand Jury’s full record was published for this case. It details all the facts of the case without resorting to the bullshit rhetoric. You can find it with a simple web search if your burning questions and intelligence are up to the task.
You should know by now that you are iceskating up a hill whenever you cover LEO topics. It will always be in “defense of all cops ever.”
The problem I have with the non-expert experts is two-fold. The first is that it creates an air of legitimacy to having a chip on your shoulder. If you get stopped or contacted by the cops, something happened. Maybe it was your actions that led to the stop( traffic stop), maybe it was the actions of others( a crime happened in the area). How that interaction ends is up to the individual being stopped. If you feel like you were wrongfully detained, there are many venues to fight that battle( I would argue Law Enforcement has more oversight than any other profession). But if you chose fight it out in the street, it isn’t going to end well.
The second problem I have is that this rhetoric affects people in different ways, all negative. It makes cops not want to be proactive. It makes some people angry. And it can cause the unhinged to make a decision that they wouldn’t have otherwise made.
I love policing, and I find it laughable that the charlatans and neighbobs are still promoting the racist, out of shape, uneducated, couldn’t get in the military mentality. Law enforcement is one of the few jobs where race doesn’t matter. Humans are tribal by nature, and seek what is similar to them. Policing breaks that mold. I’m white, and I’ve ridden with black officers, hispanic officers, asian officers, female officers, gay officers, and a few I’m not entirely sure were human…and we sat in close quarters for 10-12 hours and made it through the shift. Most cops I know that came on in the last decade or so have college degrees. Many also served in the military. I tried the Corporate gig and it didn’t work for me. I really don’t think I could find myself wanting to do anything else except being a police.
you had me until you encouraged them at the end to be together where marriage will result. If that happens, they will breed and create more stupidlings.
Physical fitness standards for cops! no more BIGBUTT women getting in the way.
great information, preaching to the choir! you aren’t going to convince the morons by what you wrote here, but good try!
What the hell is wrong with big butts?
Thank you for bringing everything to light. Unfortunately the people that really need to read this will never see it, and probably couldn’t care less about the actual facts of the situation. People will continue to use these kinds of incidents to cry racial inequalities and police brutality. I dare any of them to step into a policeman’s shoes and walk into the kinds of situations that cops see every day. Imagine where we would be today if we didn’t have law enforcement. Every day cops are killed trying to protect us. That’s what we should be protesting against…
Thanks for sharing. In my mind the media and politicians have helped with the disrespect that is shown to our police officers and firefighters. It is a sad violent world we are living in.
Kudos to you. I’m retired Active Army of 22years, and retired Deputy/Police Officer of 18 years. You have said it all. To bad that the people who really need to read this won’t.
I have been stewing overy this topic for a while now. Almost to the point that it is becoming toxic. I am an 18 year LEO that has served as the SRT operator/commander, K9 handlet, division commander and now I instruct at the state’s police academy. I have the pleasure and honor of teaching some of the brightest men and women that have ever worn the badge. It angers me when our entire profession is subjected to attacks and rhetoric designed to promote sensationalism so that ratings will increase and politicians can have a soapbox on which to stand. My worry is that some of our warriors Will hesitate at the moment they should react and die. I pray that thy is fad of cop hating Will pass and the press will find another topic on which to focus their attention. Thank you for this article. You summed it up nicely. Too bad the only persons that will read it and understand are other warriors. Thano you for your service and sacrifice. Godspeed
I don’t blame the whole police community. I blame the ones that know they have no business doing there jobs if they can’t look at all people without coming to a conclusion on the color of their skin first. I thank you for your service and sacrifices if you are doing them to the code of your original oath. That goes for any officer. I’ve encountered some fairly nice officers but for the 90% good I’ve encountered 10% bad. I challenge other officers if you know that someone on your force is doing stuff based off race, color, creed or religion against people…Tell it’s that simple…Tell…I would even if it meant being stripped of my badge and kicked out the club..Because that means overall my humanity allowed me to save someone else from destructive behavior, that when found out it leaves a bad name on all police.
First let me say that I think that this incident was blown all out of proportion so that the race baiters could stir people up prior to the election.
Having said that, I’d like to address a few points. I agree with you that deadly force is sometimes necessary to stop a threat, and I am not criticizing your statements.
But police need to up their game if they are going to claim that they are all worthy of respect. I know many fine officers. I respect them greatly. I also know some who are an embarrassment to the uniform. I know some who have very high IQ s and others who are dumber than a phone book. THe thing is, they all wear the same uniform and are all treated the same. Officers close ranks even when one of their own has done something totally stupid or out of control. They still support the cop against the rest of us.
Want more respect? Police your own ranks. Get rid of the abusive ones, the drunks and the morons. They interact with the rest of us too and they wear the same uniform as you. They make cops like you look bad. When the bad cops become very rare, and bad cop behavior becomes very unusual, then it will help. But standing behind these bad cops makes the rest of you look bad.
I support my local police. I just got a thank you present from the local K-( guys for Christmas for letting them train in my facility. Bad cops make these guys look very bad, but they don’t chase ’em out of the force.
I agree with you on every point. I think one positive result of all this chaos is going to be better oversight, and less tolerance of bad officers.
Thank you for commenting, and thanks for supporting your local officers.
Well Said B! This is definitely the case….It’s not all cops that are bad but for the bad ones that aren’t policed from the inside first, it’s them being let out into communities where the public forms an opinion about all cops from.
This article was brilliant and shines a good light on an utter wise dark circumstance. With reference to the whole protect and serve moto for the police. They do just that. They are not required to put themselves in harms way. The only occupation that requires a person to walk into harms way without regard for ones self is the military. It’s called unlimited liability an the military are the only occupation where it applies as far as I know.
I meant other wise.
A good read. As a Tactical Firearms Police Officer and Instructor in all use of force disciplines, I have to agree with your content and tone. It really makes me despair when I see the unchallenged comments that are taken as fact when a fatal encounter takes place with Police. Investigate ? Of course. Judge without the facts? I guess you know where I’m going with that one……..
I am still waiting for a comment from Luciano that smacks of academia. Oh well, I can wait.
Great article Chris.
Thanks for the essay Chris.. And yes, you make some great points.. And when an officer’s life is in danger, I have no problem with their using the force necessary to end the threat.
But did they have to be in that position in the first place?
Let me ask you why you didn’t offer a bit more analysis of Wilson’s actions and how he practically violated every bit of common sense during this encounter when he attempted to approach Brown and Johnson??
He just had no business backing up his vehicle that closely to those two guys. Turn the damn thing around if you suddenly think they are suspects.. He had NO idea if they were armed or not and he put himself at risk. Why couldn’t he use his loudspeaker and order them to halt while he awaited backup?
He had two guys, who he believed had just robbed that store (so he testifies) and he’s going to “go solo”?
Furthermore, after Brown flees the vehicle, Wilson passes RIGHT BY Johnson and didn’t even pay attention to him. Johnson might have been armed and could have shot him in the back.
Again, why not observe from his vehicle, since it was clear Brown wasn’t armed (or else he wouldn’t have had to reach for Wilson’s gun, right?), he was likely wounded, and there really was no where for him to flee without being observed until backup arrived..
As for the hands up controversy, at least 3-4 of Wilson’s bullets missed their target and I saw pics of at least two having struck a residence.
What if he had killed innocent people living in those dwellings?
Therefore, I think the biggest reason he shouldn’t be a cop is because he placed his own life, as well as those of innocent people, in danger because of his “lone ranger” mentality.
But he had to escalate the situation, rather than sit back, observe, and wait for his backup to arrive and attempt to cut off their escape.
So.. I want to see some criticism of Wilson.. And I want to know why those vehicles didn’t have dashcams but were practically brand new.
But as someone stated here.. this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back and there are elements out there (racists, and/or Anarchist) who want to undermine the public trust in our law enforcement officers.
And unfortunately, there exists a percentage of those officers who’s misconduct brings great embarrassment and shame on this dangerous, but vital, job..
Cops have to be willing to analyze and criticize their brethren.. But we’re not seeing much criticism of Wilson’s (criminal) negligence during this encounter.
I’ll address your points one by one.
1) “He just had no business backing up his vehicle that closely to those two guys. Turn the damn thing around if you suddenly think they are suspects.. He had NO idea if they were armed or not and he put himself at risk. Why couldn’t he use his loudspeaker and order them to halt while he awaited backup?”
Every time we stop a suspect, we have to find the balance between keeping enough standoff distance for safety and staying close enough to catch them if they flee. Wilson chose to stop close to them rather than further away, and that may have been due to a number of factors (traffic, presence of pedestrians, noise, etc). However, in my experience, there are often times you get close to a suspect, especially if you have no reports or visual clues suggesting he’s armed.
2) “He had two guys, who he believed had just robbed that store (so he testifies) and he’s going to ‘go solo’?”
Yes. We have to go one officer on multiple suspects all the time. I and every other street cop I know has done that. Standing by is not always an option.
3) “Furthermore, after Brown flees the vehicle, Wilson passes RIGHT BY Johnson and didn’t even pay attention to him. Johnson might have been armed and could have shot him in the back.”
And that’s another judgment call. We often have to turn our backs to one suspect in order to pursue another. Almost every time a suspect runs from a car and we chase him, we pass the car he just ran from and give our backs to anyone who might be inside. In these situations, as in many others, we focus on the known threat while remaining peripherally aware of the possible threat. When Wilson stopped Brown, Brown assaulted him while Johnson did nothing. That made Brown the focus of attention. Wilson made the judgment call to chase Brown, who was an identified theft or robbery suspect and who had just assaulted him, while ignoring Johnson. That’s not unreasonable to me. You seem to be suggesting officers should never take risks such as turning their backs on a second suspect; unfortunately, in real life we can’t do that.
4) “Again, why not observe from his vehicle, since it was clear Brown wasn’t armed (or else he wouldn’t have had to reach for Wilson’s gun, right?), he was likely wounded, and there really was no where for him to flee without being observed until backup arrived.”
Agree that there was no indication Brown was armed. Disagree vehemently that Brown had nowhere to go. He was standing in front of an apartment complex. Ask any street cop about suspects getting into complexes; that’s one of the best places they can go, because the buildings and roads are usually laid out in a seemingly random manner, the suspect has numerous places outside of the apartments to hide (like between cars in the multiple parking lots), the suspect may have his own apartment or friends’ apartments available as refuge, and the suspect may also know the hidden trails and holes in fences where he can escape on foot. Very often during vehicle pursuits suspect head toward apartment complexes, and on occasion we’ve been able to anticipate them and get officers there first. Same thing with foot pursuits near apartments. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how you reach the conclusion that Brown had “nowhere to flee”.
5) “As for the hands up controversy, at least 3-4 of Wilson’s bullets missed their target and I saw pics of at least two having struck a residence.
What if he had killed innocent people living in those dwellings?”
I’m not sure how the missed rounds correlate to the “hands up” claims. But as for the missed shots themselves, you’re right that those rounds put innocent people in danger. We police have to be cognizant of our backstop when we shoot; however, under stress, people (all people, not just cops) are highly likely to miss with at least some rounds. An officer could be 1000% justified in firing his weapon, and he still could put innocent people’s lives at risk by shooting. Even if he hits the target, rounds can pass through and hit someone else. There is no reasonable way to eliminate that possibility. We can reduce it by giving better training to officers and making efforts to ensure officers only shoot when absolutely necessary, but again, even in the “best possible” police shooting scenario you will likely have innocent people at risk from missed or stray rounds.
6) “Therefore, I think the biggest reason he shouldn’t be a cop is because he placed his own life, as well as those of innocent people, in danger because of his ‘lone ranger’ mentality.”
I see your point, but I have to disagree. We cops get paid to confront danger so that society doesn’t have to. In a situation where an officer has two apparently unarmed suspects, he’s supposed to back off and not even approach them until he has backup? I’ve worked in a small town where we sometimes had only one officer on duty. I’ve worked a big city where even with a thousand officers on duty, I still didn’t have backup in my beat. Waiting on backup isn’t always feasible.
7) “But he had to escalate the situation, rather than sit back, observe, and wait for his backup to arrive and attempt to cut off their escape.”
Just to make sure I understand you: Wilson was assaulted before he even got out of the car, but it’s his fault for being assaulted, simply because he tried to stop a suspect?
8) “So.. I want to see some criticism of Wilson.. And I want to know why those vehicles didn’t have dashcams but were practically brand new.”
I’d bet Wilson wishes he’d done things differently. That’s not the same as thinking he was wrong. After every critical incident, both as a cop and soldier, I tore apart my actions and berated myself for not doing it better. In hindsight, we all know Wilson should have backed off. That doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.
As far as dashcams go, the fact that a car is new has nothing to do with whether or not it has a camera. Dashcams are used by some departments and not used by others. I’ve worked for three agencies, and only in one did I have a camera. And that agency old had a camera in one car.
9) “Cops have to be willing to analyze and criticize their brethren.. But we’re not seeing much criticism of Wilson’s (criminal) negligence during this encounter.”
That’s because there was no criminal negligence. Your comments suggest Wilson should be charged with the crime of being attacked by a criminal, because he didn’t do enough to prevent it. He was doing his job and stopping an identified suspect. That suspect attacked him. I don’t see any possible justification for charging him with a crime for being attacked by a criminal.
I know how to take care of all of this mess. Just disband all law enforcement, period. Then, we can all run, play, sing and dance all day with little cartoon birds flitting around our shoulders!
To be fair, let’s run a pilot program in Ferguson, and the last person to leave there can:
1. Turn off the lights,
2. Tell the rest of us how it all worked out.
The sitting police forces should give a twenty-four hour notice, then route all 911 calls to the ACLU.
Are there asshole cops out there? Well, hell yes. Nothing is perfect, but if people had the balls to put their money where their mouth is, then 911 calls should drop to a trickle voluntarily.
Yep, the next time someone tries to rape, pillage, burn, loot, rob, create general mayhem, kick the living shit outta random people for fun, etc., the victim can call Marc Randolph and he can show all the dumbass cops how it should be done. Now, THAT I would pay to see!:
Assailant: WHO THE F*&^ IS YOU!? I’LL RIP YO GO^%$*# HEAD OFF AND SHOVE IT UP YO ASS, YOU MOTHAF*&%ING PUNK ASS BITCH! NAW, MOTHAF&^%$%, YOU AIN’T GWAN NOWHERES! YOU DONE POKED YO NOSE WHERE IT DON’T BELONG, NOW YOU GONNA DO WHAT YOU CAME FOR OR I’LL BREAK YOU DOWN LIKE MY GRANPAPPY’S OL’ H&R AND POUR THA COALS TO YO ASS RIGHT IN FRONT UH THUH NEAREST VIDEO CAMERA SO I CAN POST IT ON YOUTUBE, BITCH!!
Marc Randolph: Uhhhh, let’s settle this like gentlemen! If I blow you will you allow me to leave with my head still attached, please kind sir?!
You make a very strong case in your well written article. My one major concern, which you did not address adequately, is the unusual nature of the Grand Jury process which Darren Wilson faced. This was not a typical grand jury, and the prosecutor acted differently than most prosecutors presenting before a Grand Jury. I personally would like to see Robert McCulloch use an identical process on all future Grand Juries. If he were to do so, I believe there would be a significant difference in the number of indictments brought forth between earlier presentations where he was much more active. In other words, the prosecutor may very well have sabotaged justice by his behavior and refusal to recuse himself.
Interesting observation. That’s not the sense I get, but I understand the concern. Thanks for commenting.
Thank you for stating the correlation between witness acounts and forensic evidence.
As a retired juvenile probation/apprehension officer I can attest to the strength of a 12-16 year old who is packing on some pounds. If they are also FAS/FAE any situation can escalate in a minute or less. Thank you for your descriptions.
Thank you for a well written article with substantiated facts to back it up. I shared this a week or two ago but I appreciate your article to help bring more substance to mine.
I have been watching the events in unfold Ferguson. Have people forgot that Michael Brown was breaking the law and was shot while assaulting a police officer? There is no racism involved with this case, other than the black community making it a case for race. Before I see the post about all the corrupt police officers, of course there are corrupt police but that is a very small percentage. Most of the police are hard working, ethical and upstanding. After burning other people’s property and torching police cars (tax payer dollars like mine) I would suggest those crying race should take a step back and take notice that 93 percent of blacks killed are killed by blacks, or what about the 47 shot in drive by shootings in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. If the black community wants change start with changing your own behavior first. I disagree with the country as a whole being racist, our president is black, one of the wealthiest people in our free market society is a black woman. The only thing stopping success in the black community in this day and age is themselves.
OUTSTANDING,Well Written article! I have held off posting ANYTHING about Ferguson, Staten Island, Police, Riots etc..etc..! I POSTED this on my FB page!!! Thanks for putting into words many of my own thoughts as well! WELL DONE! Stay Safe, Stay Vigilant, & GOD SAVE OUR REPUBLIC!!!
I am not a LEO, I’m actually a financial planner. I completely appreciate this post. I learned a lot from the content shared and will continue my support of police officers.
I used to have the utmost respect for law enforcement. Until the events of the past year. A constable came in an unmarked car and without any indicia of his office on his person: plain clothes, no badge, nothing. Never stated his business, never stated he was an officer of the court. Charged at me while screaming while holding something in his hands, attacked me and hit me in the head and face. I tried to escape. Filed false charges against me claiming I hit him in the leg while trying to get away from him. Police arrested me, threated to have my dog euthanized; beat me up, I have scars where I was cut; told me I did not need my wallet so I did not have any money or my credit cards by which I could have made my bail in an hour; refused to allow me to call my attorney; refused me medical treatment I needed. Charges against me were false, arrest was false, constable was charged and will stand trial for assault, battery, false arrest and other charges. Police and county have been charged with misconduct and a 1983 suit is pending for false arrest and imprisonment. Second event: cops entered my home without a warrant in my absence claiming “they were there to check on my welfare.” I didn’t call them. They came back later and attempted to taze me and taze my dog when neither one of us was in any way a threat to the officers.
I will NEVER trust a police officer again. Never. Over-reactive, use of force which was unnecessary in the circumstances, escalating situations instead of de-escalating.
Given the Brown case and a dead 12 year old kid shot within two seconds of two cops pulling up in a cruiser, I now stay as far away from cops as I can.
I will never call 911 even if I am in need of medical assistance. Because a cop will show up too.
I read the article. All of the gung ho military thinking of “us” vs “them” where the “them” is the citizenry I happen to be a member of, is part of what has gone wrong in policing in America in the past 20 years.
A Hull’s comments are right on: deadly force should be the last resort and the outcome of the Wilson/Brown episode should have been Brown alive and in custody with the assistance of other officers. Among other things, Wilson put his own safety at risk.
This man has the right idea. Never call the cops unless you’re okay with someone getting shot – possibly you.
i personally know a guy who was shot 3 times with shotgun beanbags and he never went down
Can you explain why –
* Darren Wilson’s testimony is inconsistent with his police interview
* Darren Wilson’s “injuries” are inconsistent with his story
* Darren Wilson washed his hands as soon as he reached the station, before having them examined
* Darren Wilson drove himself to the station
* Darren Wilson put his OWN gun in the evidence bag
* Darren Wilson’s gun was not checked for prints, despite him claiming Michael Brown touched it
* Bob McCullough’s team gave the Grand Jury an unconstitutional law repealed in 1985, and then waited weeks before presenting the actual law and not bother to explain the difference
* Darren Wilson was not cross-examined on the inconsistencies in his story, yet every other witnesses was.
1) Please cite the inconsistencies.
2) He claimed he was punched, and had a bruise on his face. What’s inconsistent?
3) Wilson probably washed his hands because he had blood on them that contained possible communicable diseases. As a cop, I washed blood off my hands immediately.
4) Nobody ever claimed Wilson was disabled and unable to drive.
5) After the shooting Wilson would have reholstered his weapon, and later would have turned it over to investigators, including possibly placing the pistol in the bag himself. I don’t have an issue with that.
6) Wilson’s weapon should have been checked for prints. If in fact it wasn’t, that was an investigative oversight. Had it been checked for prints I suspect the results would have been inconclusive. Prints aren’t transferred nearly as often as most people think.
7) I’m not familiar with the law you’re referring to. Please cite them, and explain how they would have affected the GJ’s decision.
8) Witnesses in a GJ aren’t cross examined. There are no defense attorneys.
1) Darren Wilson claims to have been punched twice during the GJ process, but said 10X during the police interview.
He also claims to have been punched on the right side of his cheek, while sitting in a left-hand drive vehicle, meaning his left-cheek would have been exposed to Brown, while his right cheek would have been facing the passenger seat.
Darren Wilson also claimed to have had his gun twisted against his wrist by Brown, despite there being no bruising on his wrist.
Darren Wilson’s sergeant claimed Wilson told him Wilson did not suspect Brown of the robbery. Why, when and how did this miraculously change?
2) He claimed to have been punched at “full force”, “solid hits” twice (or is it 10X) by a 300lbs man. He claimed to have almost gotten “knocked out”.
Please tell me with all your integrity you believe those pictures of Wilson are consistent with this.
3) Wilson claimed there was a struggle, and that he “followed his police training”. Does police training not teach officers to check underneath fingernails for trace material?
Does police training also encourage officers to clean evidence before recording of blood splatter analysis?
Furthermore, the timeline between the incident and Wilson washing his hands is more than enough for any communicable disease to have infected him.
4) The question is not about whether or not Wilson was unable to drive. The question is about an officer that was involved in a questionable killing being allowed to leave the SOC unaccompanied. Anything could have happened between the SOC and the station. Wilson could have gotten rid of evidence, punched himself etc.
5) You don’t have a problem with an officer taking evidence away from the scene of crime without it being recorded first? Does police training encourage that too?
6) The facts remain that the weapon was not tested for prints officer, despite Darren Wilson CLEARLY stating Brown grabbed his gun.
We cannot “suspect” anything with regards to what the analysis of the gun would have shown. You are not a forensic analysis expert.
7) “prosecutors gave grand jurors an outdated statute that said police officers can shoot a suspect that’s simply fleeing. This statute was deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1985; the court ruled that a fleeing suspect must, at least in a police officer’s reasonable view, pose a dangerous threat to someone or have committed a violent felony to justify a shooting.
Prosecutors, who had full control of the evidence presented to the grand jury, took more than two months to correct their mistake, O’Donnell said. The prosecutors on November 21 — just three days before the grand jury reached a decision — gave the correct standards to the grand jury. But as O’Donnell explained, the prosecutors didn’t specify what exactly was wrong with the outdated statute — and they didn’t even clearly say, after they were asked, to the grand jurors that Supreme Court rulings do indeed override Missouri law.” –
8) Witnesses aren’t cross-examined? Then how was it determined that some witnesses were credible and others weren’t in this case?
Common Sense, PO Wilson’s Sgt. got his facts wrong. Here is the timeline, complete with the actual radio transmissions.
Yup, that radio traffic puts the “Wilson didn’t know they were suspects” nonsense to rest.
1) In the fights I’ve been in, I couldn’t tell you how many punches were thrown at me or how many I threw (or how many times I swung my baton). In my experience one does remember details of a fight, or firefight, after time has passed. Your experience may be different. And whether there were two or ten punches thrown, Brown assaulted the officer.
Wilson could have been punched on the right cheek because he turned in the seat when Brown assaulted him. We’re trained to present our body armor to the threat. If someone is coming through a window attacking me, I’m going to turn in the seat to face them.
I’ve never had a bruised wrist or hand from doing weapon retention training, nor have I ever received a bruise from having a cuff twisted against my wrist.
Quote the sergeant and provide a link please.
2) I’ve been punched full force by a very strong, pissed-off guy high on PCP. I was almost knocked out. All the hit left was three red lines on the side of my head. Yes you can be punched hard and not have a huge injury.
3) Evidence isn’t typically left under fingernails unless there was a large amount of blood or the victim was scratching the suspect. We don’t typically check under people’s fingernails for evidence. My understanding of Brown’s hand wound is that it was a graze that produced little bleeding. In real life, that doesn’t leave DNA under fingernails. Blood spatter doesn’t occur in all gunshot cases. I’d guess, if Wilson had blood on his hands, he washed it off at the first available opportunity rather than saying “I’m infected already, might as well leave it there.” In real life cops don’t do that.
4) Officers leave crime scenes alone all the time. Is there reason to believe he punched himself or destroyed evidence?
Details. Sure. The “details” you’re bringing up make me think your crime scene expertise comes from CSI shows where there’s always blood spatter, fingerprints and a nefarious plot by a criminal mastermind.
5) The officer’s weapon stays with him until it’s taken into evidence. He wouldn’t be disarmed at the scene of the crime, especially if there was a hostile crowd present. No, I don’t have a problem with an officer retaining his weapon until he was away from the scene and investigators secured it.
Where do you get your ideas of what happens at crime scenes?
6) IF Wilson’s weapon wasn’t checked for prints, it should have been. No argument there. I doubt there would have been any, but it should have been checked anyway to ward off objections later.
“We cannot ‘suspect’ anything with regards to what the analysis of the gun would have shown. You are not a forensic analysis expert.”
And you are?
7) Since there is no evidence Wilson shot or shot at Brown as he was running away (other than discredited statements from some witnesses, countered by three autopsies that showed no wounds to the back and statements by credible witnesses), what difference does that make? Nobody is saying “Wilson shot at Brown as he was running away”. If that’s what the evidence showed or if Wilson admitted to that, I’d change my opinion on this shooting. This wasn’t a case of an officer shooting a fleeing felon in the back, it was a case of an officer shooting a suspect advancing on him.
8) Cross examination occurs in a trial. A state’s witness is direct examined by the prosecutor and cross examined by the defense, then re-direct examined by the prosecutor. Defense witnesses are direct examined by the defense, cross examined by the prosecutor, then re-direct examined by defense. In a GJ there is no defense attorney, there is only the prosecutor and grand jurors. They question the witnesses directly, and all witnesses are subject to questions from all the jurors and prosecutor. Credibility is determined without a formal direct/cross examination, by the jury’s analysis of the witness’s answers compared to physical evidence and other credible witnesses.
I’ve been on a lot of crime scenes and testified many times before a GJ. I get the feeling you have no direct experience or training in crime scene investigation, criminal law or patrol tactics. You’re bringing up “evidence” that makes sense to you but isn’t what you’d see in real life.
One of the stories you posted has a follow up…
Yeah, I know. Sucks. But the original point about him surviving wounds that most people thought would kill him still stands.
Thank you for the article. Very well said.
I have been a police officer for many years. Most of these small police departments lack training. This is a very serious training issue. This officer had every right to use deadly force when he first encountered the suspect. That is the only time deadly force should have been used legally. At no time is it acceptable to fire upon a fleeing suspect when he is unarmed. Unarmed is the key here. Brown was unarmed after the initial fight the officer stated it felt like he was fighting with a very strong individual. As an officer that is my que that when we disengage i am going to get as many officer as i can to help me arrest this suspect. The suspect’s actions d(brown) being unarmed does not give an officer the right to kill him. As an officer you must control your emotions and make the arrest with help. Again good training would have guided this officer to use back up to use an intermediate weapon before using deadly force. I wish officer would stop trying to say deadly force was necessary outside the police car because it was not. Do I think the officer should go to jail I don’t know but what I do know is the department and city he works for should pay big for not giving this officer the training he should have gotten. Please if you are an officer stop puttiñg gas on a fire that needs to burn out. If you are an officer that would shoot at a fleeing unarmed suspect please do yourself and society a favor and turn in your badge because you make all police officers look bad in the eye of society.
I have a hard time believing you’re a police officer. If you are, you know we don’t always have the option of waiting for backup. We can’t always deploy intermediate weapons. And the physical evidence and credible witness testimony showed Wilson did not shoot Brown as he was running away.
Nobody shot a fleeing, unarmed suspect in Ferguson. Check the three autopsies.
I second that, if you ARE a LEO I sure am glad your not working in my town. Wilson did not have the luxury of waiting. For you to Monday-morning quarterback like this is embarrassing. I’m guessing if you are a LEO then your chair and desk are calling, cause you haven’t worked the street for a long time if ever.
Next time stick to the facts, and don’t get so excited listening to yourself talk.
Do you have any idea what type of training is done in STL? The majority of police departments in the county and surrounding areas are required to complete a 26 week academic and hands on training. This facility is a CALEA Accredited Public Safety Academy with the highest standards in the US. The training is intense and daunting. Classes usually lose about 20 to 25% before graduation. Please don’t comment on their training unless you have gone through the same. Oh, and continuing education is REQUIRED.
Wow, 26 whole weeks? That’s, like, a third of the time it takes to get trained as a cosmetologist! Impressive.
That sounds STRAIGHT out of the Use of Force Handbook. Must be nice to be able to quote something you have never had to live though. Sorry, I am calling bullshit on you being an actual in the field LEO somewhere.
Very well written and thorough. I am also a veteran LEO, if that helps validate the rest of this.
The only problem I have with the article where it is published. I’m guessing that Breachbangclear is not a sister publication with links from the Huffington Post and Mother Jones. I’m guessing that most people coming to this site already believe these things and are just appreciating the rightness of the argument, like we just did. Except Nunya, who showed up angry. Articles like this need to be out there where regular folks will read them.
We know that the internet is wide open to the public, and my partner rightly claims that the mainstream media will not put out this sort of content. This blog needs to be up somewhere with a friendlier name, less soldiering, weapon, ammo and spattering grenade logos. Somewhere with links to holiday movies or the Kardashians. The public needs to be able to find and absorb this information without being scared off any further.
You have my support Chris H, hope to see this on my MSN homepage soon.
Thanks Ben, but I’m afraid neither this article nor any others like it will ever see an audience of HuffPo or Mother Jones readers.
Extremely well written, your points are validated with examples and videos.I hope a lot of people read it. As to the pin headed lady Nanya that just uses fowl language, I say read a book educate yourself you sound like a moron. Tueri et Servire
If Officers around our Country took off their uniforms , And I mean walked off the job for just one day, the world would see what happens when there is no one to call for help. This world would be in chaos , and the weak would not survive…
Excellent article. Too bad more Americans dont have the brain power to spell article, let alone read it…..
an extra-judicial killing by any other name is still an extra-judicial killing
So you would allow someone to beat you to death instead of shooting them if you could?
Would you have the police shoot them while they were attempting to beat you to death?
Would you just give in and die rather than have your assailant killed?
Just because you use a fancy phrase to make yourself look smart does not mean that you are; your statement is ignorant and without basis in fact.
25 years as a LEO..15 in Detroit. Excellent layman’s explanation of “how it really is”. Every human has different physiology and not everyone will react identical to pepper spray, baton, a teaser or lethal force. When an officer draws a firearm and acquires a target, a decision to use lethal force is the decision made based on the totality of circumstances based on that situation by that officer at that time with his/her particular skilkset.
For those of you not familiar with police work, I agree 100% of what was stated in this article. I commend you for taking the time and effort to educate the citizens we serve and hope those efforts help bridge the gap of misunderstanding the media spin doctors to illicit fear and sell airtime.
25 years as a LEO..15 in Detroit. Excellent layman’s explanation of “how it really is”. Every human has different physiology and not everyone will react identical to pepper spray, baton, a teaser or lethal force. When an officer draws a firearm and acquires a target, a decision to use lethal force is the decision made based on the totality of circumstances based on that situation by that officer at that time with his/her particular skilkset.
For those of you not familiar with police work, I agree 100% of what was stated in this article. I commend you for taking the time and effort to educate the citizens we serve and hope those efforts help bridge the gap of misunderstanding the media spin doctors to illicit fear and sell airtime.
Great article with very valid points.
I read a similar argument about economics – people who wouldn’t dare tell a heart surgeon how to do his job feel like they hold a valid opinion about economics.
So I bought a book about economics and started to realize just how much I didn’t know after all.
I’m sorry, I know lots of LEOs and I know tHe code words: he went for my gun, I was scared for my life, etc. etc. maybe if Wilson hadn’t confronted brown with belligerence and obscenity – his words, not mine – or quickly shuffled through his brain how he could legally shoot him – again his words – it would have been different. I’m sorry, if you have life and death authority, you have a higher standard. Bad cops have cost city’s millions in settlements. Until they start policing their own instead reflexively retreating behind the blue wall of silence, there will be growing mistrust and eventually there will be open season on the a users. Thanks to the NRA and the gun fetishists, there are plenty of weapons out there for people to fight back. Unfortunately, a lot of good cops will be taken down with the bad.
Blue Wall of Silence? Did you get that from a movie or someone’s blog?
Two things I see a lot of nowadays;
“People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”
— Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1999, Vol 77 No.6, 1121-1134, Kruger & Dunning
and everybody is an expert;
While I agree with most parts of your article I’ve always thought that the Darren Wilson / Michael Brown case is the classic example of why it’s so important to scrap the 2nd amendment and impose gun control in the USA, like the rest of the world. Because if law enforcement could reasonably assume that people are generally unarmed then you wouldn’t have to argue about how many bullets it takes to take down a “dangerous criminal”.
It seems like a better reason to enforce the second amendment. If you took away the LEO’s gun then he might be the guy we aren’t seeing on TV every day. He would be another unsung hero with a medal on his families coffee table.
So if we impose gun control in the USA like the rest of the world, how is a law abiding citizen supposed to defend themselves against a criminal who illegally obtained a firearm and threatening bodily harm? Call the police? Can a responding officer arrive in the time before it takes to press a trigger? The MB shooting had nothing to do with how well armed he was, the article stated that it quite easy to be beaten to death with bare hands and feet, besides the fact that if an officer has to have himself checked to see if he/she has been shot, you think they’re counting bullets they’ve shot? I’m not clear on what scrapping the 2nd amendment would have done to prevent MB from being shot, he wasn’t already armed.
You guys do actually realise that if we scrap the 2nd amendment, it means the police would still have guns and everybody else doesn’t, right?
Ever actually stepped out to the rest of the world to see what it’s like? Gun deaths are lower in all developed countries which control arms. If a criminal illegally obtained a gun, there would be trouble, of course. But who would ever want to own a gun, when being caught with one means a straight jail sentence for you? Criminals would just have to make do with their fists and knives.
The reason why the police need to shoot Michael Brown is because the fact that he might be holding a gun means that you shoot first and ask questions later. If you’re pretty sure he doesn’t have a gun, the cop can just point the gun at him and wait for reinforcements to arrive. He doesn’t have to shoot. And if he shoots, he won’t be shooting to kill, just to bring the guy down.
How often do you hear of people getting shot by the police in the rest of the world? Harrassed, yes. Beaten up, yes. Jailed for no good reason, yes. Shot dead, almost never happens.
In this case repealing the 2A wouldn’t have made a difference because the officer was the only one with a gun. And even if guns were banned, there’s no way in hell we’d get them all off the street. Most cops, including me, would refuse to enforce a 2A ban. Nobody would risk owning a gun if it was illegal? That’s amusing. Talk to the average American gun owner. They’re not turning in their guns, legal or not.
Have I ever seen what the rest of the world is like? Well, my bio says I served as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a cop in Kosovo. So there’s three countries. It doesn’t say all the other places I’ve visited: Mexico, England, Italy, Russia, Macedonia, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Germany (briefly) and maybe one or two other places I’ve forgotten. Some of the places I visited were great, some not so much. None had America’s history or were created on our foundations. The 2A is part of who we are and we’re not giving it up.
As far as the rest of your comment: rubbish. Brown was never suspected to be holding a gun. The officer didn’t “shoot first and ask questions later” because he thought Brown might have a gun. We can just point a gun at an unarmed man and wait for reinforcements? Did you read anything at all about this incident before pronouncing The Truth? Wilson did point his weapon at Brown. Did Brown just give up? No, he advanced on Wilson. That’s why Wilson fired. And we don’t shoot to kill, we shoot to stop. That’s literally what our training tells us to do.
Where did you learn these nuggets of tactical wisdom?
Thank you for continuing to comment. You’re exactly the kind of person I was talking about. You have zero understanding of violence, yet you’re dictating your warped version of “truth” to people who actually do know something about it.
Well there you go. So many places. “Mexico, England, Italy, Russia, Macedonia, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Germany”. Let’s leave out Mexico because they don’t have gun control. Leave out Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo because they’re war zones.
Were any of these places as violent as the USA? Did you hear about cops routinely shooting people and people shooting back in those places? Let’s not speculate because speculation is for effete elites. Where are your facts?
Your training tells you that shooting to stop is the equivalent of shooting to kill, because that is literally what you have to do in order to subdue a person whom you do not know has a gun or not.
Brown was not suspected of holding a gun? What kind of cop in the USA tries to apprehend a person without suspecting that he has a gun? Do not be disingenuous with me.
There are a lot of cases where you’ve shot a guy a few times and the other guy shoots back. But a unarmed guy using his hands and fists on an officer after being shot? Maybe you have one video out of the 20 that you’ve posted where that kind of thing happens. If you live long enough, anything can happen. I mean when you play golf, it is technically possible to have a hole in one.
Mexico doesn’t have gun control? You might want to recheck that claim. Mexico has extremely strict gun control, and many, many shootings. By the way, cops aren’t “routinely” shooting people here in America.
And at the time I was there, Kosovo was not a war zone.
My training is not equivalent to “shoot to kill”. Stop treating your absolute ignorance of firearms as if it’s handed down from the Tree of Knowledge. We shoot to stop. Most people shot with a pistol don’t die. Most police shootings are with a pistol. Brown would have survived if he hadn’t been hit in the top of the head, all the other wounds were survivable. You’re continually conflating shooting multiple rounds with “the suspect might have a gun”, which is invalid. I the suspect is armed and an immediate lethal threat, I shoot to stop. If the suspect is unarmed and an immediate lethal threat, I shoot to stop. I don’t say “He might have a gun, I better shoot more.” That’s not how it works.
And now you’re dictating to me what I “really” do as a cop, despite having zero training, knowledge or experience with what I do. I’ve arrested hundreds of people. I did not assume every one had a gun. Yes, we’re aware people may be armed. We don’t treat them all as if they’re armed. Disingenuous? Nope. I’m talking about reality. You’re speaking about something you know literally nothing about, and insisting it’s true. That’s disingenuous.
I’m sorry, you first insisted someone couldn’t fight back after being shot “once or twice”. Now, “Well, anything can happen.” Yes, someone can be shot and still beat you, or disarm and shoot you. Doesn’t happen much, fortunately. But it’s a real possibility, that’s really happened.
How would you enforce a “scrapping of the Second Amendment”? Many gun owners (myself included) believe that you can have their guns “when you pry them from our cold, dead hands.” While in all seriousness I would willingly (and legally be required to) hand over my weapons if I committed a felony, law abiding citizens don’t commit violent crimes, so what justification do you have for repealing our 2nd Amendment Rrghts? And if you start line item vetoing the Bill of Rights, what’s to stop them from scrapping the 1st Amendment (Free Speech), or the 4th (Protection from unlawful searches and seizures), or the 5th (Protection from Self Incrimination), or any of them? The WHOLE Bill of Rights, US Constitution, and the Federalist Papers that help interpret them, are what allow you to live free in this country. They allow you to contribute your thoughts of scrapping the very documents that protect you. Tread lightly here, because without these documents, you move to the Police State that you so fear.
1) Nobody ever claimed Brown was armed.
2) Whether or not a suspect is armed has literally nothing to do with how many bullets are required to stop them.
3) This case has no connection whatsoever to the 2nd Amendment. In fact, isn’t it how you want it? Only the police officer had a weapon in Ferguson.
1. But I thought that we are always working on the assumption that Michael Brown is armed unless confirmed otherwise. So for you to say that Michael Brown was unarmed is invalid because there is no way for Darren Wilson to know this at that time.
2. If you shoot a guy once or twice to bring him down, he can’t kick and punch you. But he can still shoot you. That is the essential difference between subduing a guy with or without a gun. If there’s a reason to believe he has a gun, once you shoot him, you probably have to kill him.
We know everyone might be armed. We don’t respond to them as if they’re armed unless we have an indication of it.
“If you shoot a guy once or twice to bring him down, he can’t kick and punch you.” Jesus Christ, did you even bother to read what I wrote or watch the videos? There is a video in my essay of a guy beating the crap out of a cop after being shot in the abdomen.
You keep showing you know nothing about lethal force encounters. I wouldn’t have an issue with that if you were just asking questions, but you’re not. You’re pronouncing “reality” based on no knowledge or understanding at all.
Dear god I hope this is sarcasm, but just in case it isn’t, you are implying that if we scrap the 2nd Amendment and outlaw guns the criminals won’t be armed? The rest of the world has high crime rates because they outlawed guns. If LEO’s could “reasonably assume that people were generally unarmed” then they would be setting themselves up for failure, instead they should always assume someone is armed that why they are prepared if the situation becomes violent. Obviously you completely skipped the whole paragraph where he talked about cops getting beaten to death by “unarmed” people. Pull your head out of your ass, and for the love of liberty do not fucking vote.
Read your article. You obviously put quite a bit of effort into it. Great job. However I feel you might have done an even better job if you were less condescending. I am with you though that M Brown met his fait. He did it to himself. I wasn’t there but if in fact he went for Wilsons gun….game over. I am not a LEO. I did go to school for CJ but admittedly have NO training in LE. I’m not so sure why Leo’s have let the criticism about ferguson get to them. As far as a GJ decision I’m sure you can see where people might not give to much validity to a prosecutor who usually works with the pd prosecuting the officer. Facts are facts however and I’m not sure how anyone could argue they would have done any different than Wilson. I personally think that anyone who feels this case was racially motivated is wrong. I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist it because it does. Here’s an example. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WNFTfR6WycA . Also I’m a bit confused as to what you’re saying in this article because to me it seems that at any hint of violence against a PO justifies getting shot and killed by the policeman/woman because your other tools may not work. I feel that (in my untrained, “civilian” opinion) the officer who gave the old guy in the pick up so many chances should have shot that bastard way sooner than he did. I also feel that the dicks that shot the guy in your first video probably could have over powered that guy instead of shooting him. Shooting him wasn’t the worst of it in my opinion. They just let him bleed to death instead of putting pressure on his wound and MAYBE saving his life.
I also think that most people are fed up with the amount of police brutality that is so readily available online. For every one of the videos you posted with people shooting, fighting, resisting, you’ll find three where police are abusing their athority, of police brutality, over stepping their bounds, seizing people’s property/cash on the side of the highway without a warrant, etc. People don’t seem to post as many videos of police doing great work….they don’t make as big of a stink or get as many views.
Nobody can argue that we need police officers, scratch that, policemen and women. I’m greatfull for them (except if I’m about to get in trouble). I’ve been paying for their coffees and meals any chance I get as a way to say thank you. Keep your head up. I hope we all figure this thing out.
I’ve riddled my Facebook page with short snippets of exactly what you’ve stated here, bravo, I will continue to repeatedly share this until someone demands I stop and I’ll share it done more. These idiots who are showing national support for idiotic law breakers who were unfortunately killed while being subdued Sid all be forced to read this until it’s all they know. The protestors are ignorant, un/under educated idiots who are only emphasizing how stupid America has become. Their voices should be considered one of the biggest embarrassments this country had ever faced. Lord help us!
Actually, the protesters are less concerned with the racial implications of a single killing and more concerned with the fact that racism in America never ended; it only changed into something less obvious. It’s sad that so many people can’t see that.
Racism never ended because human beings continue to be human. That’s why there will always be some racism, among all races.
As far as your “It’s sad that so many people can’t see that” lament, let me translate it for you: “It’s so sad that people rely on their own education and experiences when they should see everything my way.”
I have to say, this was well put together and was probably the best and most comprehensive argument i’ve ready yet.
I’m not in Law but i am on the other side with Fire/EMS and I work daily with law enforcement. I will say that I’ve had the pleasure to work with what I believe is some of the finest police officers around, and the displeasure to work with a few that were not so good.
This being said I agree with all of your points, including that we do not put people on trial to prove people are not guilty. The premise of innocent until proven guilty seems to be lost on many people. I also agree with your points on firearms. I’ve tried to simulate draw and fire of rounds at my range, and even in non stressful situations where you try to put emphasis on speed ration of hit is around probably 33% center of target, on a good day and I have far more time and money to blow on ammunition and practice then the officers today have.
I too have far more questions about the NY incident then that which occurred in Ferguson.
The concept of “innocent until proven guilty” seems to be lost on you. If you aren’t presuming guilt at the onset of a trial, then there’s no reason the case shouldn’t have gone to trial. That’s the reason the bar is so low for a grand jury to establish probable cause. The trial is where the prosecution must establish guilt and the jury should begin that with the presumption of innocence. As should you.
If that’s what you believe, why do you feel Wilson should have been brought to trial in the first place? What evidence or credible witness testimony leads you to believe Wilson committed a crime?
The bar for establishing that there is probably cause to charge someone with a crime is extremely low. And if you don’t believe you can get an indictment, you don’t take it to a grand jury at all. You wait until you think you can (the bar is very low) or you don’t bother at all. The prosecution put this in front of a grand jury in order to feign legitimacy. If they didn’t think they could get a conviction without presenting evidence in Wilson’s defense, they shouldn’t have gone in front a grand jury at all. Instead they went in front of a grand jury and defended Wilson. That is not their job. Their job as prosecutors is to assume guilt and attempt to prove it. The defense’s job is to presume innocence (or mitigating circumstances) and attempt to discredit the prosecution’s evidence (or present such circumstances). The jury’s job is to presume innocence until they have been effectively convinced otherwise by the prosecution.
You’ve already repeatedly shown you don’t understand what a GJ is for or what it does.
The prosecution put all the evidence they had in front of the GJ. The GJ reviewed all the evidence and determined no evidence to indict Wilson existed. The prosecution then released all the evidence to the public to show nothing was being hidden. That’s not “feigning legitimacy”. That’s a legitimate GJ function.
So, Professor Anonymous, let me ask you this: what is the “right” way self defense killings should be handled? Should anyone who kills in self-defense, even if it’s obviously justified, be charged with murder? Or should self-defense killings not be presented to a GJ if the police on the scene determine no probable cause to arrest exists?
Finally an article with common sense and the truth. Thank you!
Very well written article. As a former police officer I have argued these very points with uninformed people since this media propagated bullshit started
I can’t thank you enough for saying what others are really thinking. As a citizen of this country I am very saddened to think that we have been reduced to believing what the media has been putting out to us, thinking that it’s only about race. It’s not, and having worked with law enforcement, being in the Navy, and married to man who worked spent many years in combat, you have put this very eloquently. I have a huge respect for law enforcement and what you put yourselves through everyday for our safety. I see you all doing great things out there, and hope that there are more people like you, who are willing to explain the truth to others. Thank you 🙂
Which category do you fall into? It is obviously stupid cop…..
I was going to write you a long response but that will not make a difference. I am from St, Louis and until you have lived here and see the racial divide, the privilage of whites, and police brutality, harassment, and god mentality shut your trap about explanations and join the positive side to rebuild these communities. Get down from your high horse and put on some work gloves, we have a lot of work to do in St. louis and around our nation.
I am not a minority, I am Caucasian and it is embarressing how history has glorified us. See the true message -Coexist-
There racial decide America you don’t black,white ,blue or purple to the way do but until you know the back ground comes from you don’t right NAMEs. When you get down high do something my parents over come a lot to survive after the depression . But we’re taught to get up help there community maybe your and reporting some of what’s going with your community police it won’t .We as community have turn our over the state federal government they be in the home support your schools start there.And by writing article maybe some will in list later become police officer like this young man.He also teaches how to protect correctly a gun .He was there during Katrina after so it was not race but poor people who suffer .We need to the US as it is anyone can prosper here are can fail as parent should there help. But some people use any stage to spout ther side right or wrong guns don’t people ,people do .Join in the clean up we need this nation to work this or the race riot after Roddey King incident will nothing by the way one men cleaning LPD after that was Aarons uncle .Three months after retried they like evenly happened he said did what could but up to those people and who’s lying he cleaned what he could.During Gates time as chef the police community was let believe it was alright to do what arresting officer with no reaper maned it’s different now let do this belonging joining and saying what happened weren’t there. The movie academy’s need to join in why can’t we have program like Dare that goes talks schools that ask young of every race join the police department to make difference we have start somewhere.
Marc . . . YOU are the one bringing race into it. He was speaking from a LEO’s point of view, and you have ignored that and only wanted to jump on the race bandwagon. My heavens, we have Al, Jesse and even Obama to do that.
BTW, I’m white too . . . but I still haven’t found that white privilege you talked about.
Have you studied it at all? Or are you just assuming you know what “white privilege” is supposed to mean and saying you don’t have it. I promise, if you’re white, it comes with privilege. Sometimes that privilege is overshadowed by privileges you don’t have since “white” isn’t the only one. For instance, if you’re poor or a woman you might not notice your own white privilege because you’d be more likely to notice that other people have rich privilege or male privilege. None of this means you don’t have privilege from being white, it just means you haven’t noticed it.
Have you studied astrology at all? The zodiac sign you’re born under determines everything. Just because you haven’t noticed it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Right?
“White Privilege” doesn’t exist simply because you insist it does, or because you’ve “studied it”. People also studied eugenics and alchemy. Those didn’t become true simply because someone claimed they were.
You’re clearly an idiot since you just used an argument that, if you believe it, invalidates your entire rant above. None of that is true simply because someone claimed it is. It’s true or not because evidence. Your refusal to acknowledge the evidence that astrology and alchemy don’t work or that eugenics might work but is a morally abhorrent practice, or that privilege is a thing and applies to more groups than just white people, doesn’t make any of these things untrue.
You are destroying what little faith I still had in our education system.
I made claims and backed them up with documented incidents (otherwise known as “evidence”). You claimed “white privilege” exists, but you only backed that claim with “if you don’t see it that doesn’t mean it isn’t there”. You made a claim. Now you back it up.
Nice! I noticed people dont listen any more. You can see it in the blogs in Sandpoint where we also had a shooting recently.
As a retired LEO I can see both sides, but like you I am tired of hearing people spew about things they never experienced and have no concept of. Of course the other shootings didnt help the situation.
Thanks for the info
Are you upset that so many people are lumping you into this negative ideal of a group? WOW. That must suck. Wouldn’t know what that’s like. Whiney intro
“So please, people. If you know nothing about police work or lethal violence, don’t talk as if you’re an expert. Don’t ignore numerous documented cases of unarmed people committing murders, people needing to be shot repeatedly before they’re stopped, and intermediate weapons failing.”
This is why police officer have a bad rap. You are not at war with the public. You have a job to protect and serve at the expense of your bodily health. (They pay may suck, but find another job if you don’t want to do it) That means, sometimes Police die, get injured, ect.
Police have to many bad cops, and terrible hiring procedures (Legacy, who does that? Harvard and the police?).
If your a good cop, sorry, until you get the people sorted out, your in trouble. Take Ofc. Loehmann of Cleveland PD. Thrown out of the Independence police force, hired by Cleveland. His superiors in Independence obviously noticed he should never, ever be given a gun.
Most people shouldn’t have licenses, fewer should be allowed to purchase weapons, but the tiny sliver of the population that should make those shoot decisions in the blackest of night, don’t seem to be getting hired. The ones who are, think its just a continuation of Afghanistan or Iraq.
No Justice, no peace.
This comment is a prime example of what he is talking about. You are an ass.
You are correct with the assumption police are not at war with the public. But unfortunately the public seems to be at war with the police. Its a sad day when a robbery suspect/bully attacks a police officer, attempts to disarm him, but then loses the fight to someone trying to live through his shift, but yet the media paints the suspect as the hero and the officer as the villian. I pray for the leos still walking the beat. Stay safe and watch each others backs. No one else is
I can not agree more about what the media is doing: “[painting] the suspect as the hero and the officer as the villian” or in any situation for that matter. The media seems to have become biased as time goes on…
Have you ever gone through the hiring process to become a police officer? Have you ever been on a ride along? I doubt it. Talking out of your ass of course.
“You have a job to protect and serve at the expense of your bodily health
health.” While I see what you are getting at I don’t believe you understand that all first responders including cops, ems and firefighters are taught that their lives come first. How can they serve and protect if they are dead. This is how they are trained.
“Sometimes police die, get I injured, ect” yes that does happen, but it is not supossed to,obviously. Some cops have had jobs taken away for situations where they DIDN’T shoot or take down someone dangerous. This is called “Failure to Act” which is something else first responders learn in basic training.
That doesn’t make it right. And that idea, that cops can kill just because they have the smallest inkling they may die (you know like the 12 seconds a cop gave a 12 year old to prove he wasn’t going to hurt him w/ a BB gun) even though we’re told cops are meant to protect us, is why the public is upset. I don’t know how many people I know who wanted to become police because they were willing to give up their lives for the public. When they learned these policies are in place…well yeah. The “well we could do that but it’s often not effective so that’s why he went to lethal force” as the “here’s why everyone is wrong!” argument is bullshit. It might not be effective in all situations but you don’t know what will happen. The issue moved from the car to outside the car. Obviously, Wilson wasn’t being beaten to death in the car (you know like we were originally told). Possibly, Brown was trying to leave at one point and was agitated further. We don’t know and won’t know. But a lot of us do believe that other methods could have been used to try to subdue Brown first. And you also have the St Louis police to blame. Their stories kept changing (my coworkers and I had fun trying to keep track, there was a game going) and they refused to cooperate when questioned in depth about it. They also refused to admit that some of their practices were questionable even after being forced to remove them (ex: pushing protesters to move every 5 seconds or arresting them after that time frame for STANDING STILL while protesting). This case should have gone to trial, the grand jury wasn’t handled correctly. All you need for an indictment is probable cause. Probable cause is really easy to achieve the standard for, it’s why most cases sent to grand jury moves on to trial. There was plenty of probable cause or there wouldn’t have been this debate. The “well here’s why he did it” to prove innocence is meant for the trial, not grand jury. It should have gone on.
The ‘issue’: guy goes through cop’s car window, for some unknown reason. Physical evidence and 3 autopsies show MB had burns on his hands from close-range pistol being fired, in addition to evidence that this happened INSIDE the car. All physical evidence indicates that MB did NOT have his hands up when shot. You aren’t allowed to walk away from trying to grab a cop’s while punching him in the face, no matter how lightly you’re punching him – you will be arrested. What you do while being arrested has a measurable effect on your future health. Physical evidence doesn’t lie or get it wrong. Witnesses do, all the time- I’d be willing to bet more than cops do.
CM, The Probable Cause was what got it to a grand jury in the first place, where it was deemed the Evidence didn’t warrant a trial, trials aren’t meant to prove innocence, they are for proving guilt, or does Innocent Until Proven Guilty not apply to Police Officers?
I support Darren Wilson, but Mike the purpose of a grand jury is to decide if there is probable cause for a trial. I’d say there was probable cause for a trial UNTIL it was easily shown that the witnesses providing that were unreliable, didn’t match the evidence, didn’t match each other’s statements, and in many cases didn’t match with things they had previously said themselves. There was enough exculpatory evidence to completely destroy whatever probable cause may have initially existed.
No, police officers are not required to sacrifice their bodily health at the expense of protecting/serving the public. Just like anyone else that has a job, police officers expect to go home at the end of their shift. The threat of bodily injury and/or death are risks police officers are trained to address through firearms, use of force, non or less than lethal weapons, and other training. However, I have never heard that a police officer must be required to be injured or killed as a condition of initial or continued employment. To expect this is no different than to tell an aircraft pilot not to take the necessary steps to minimize an in flight emergency, but to instead simply let that aircraft crash and hope for the best, even though we all know that sometimes aircraft crash.
I am a cop. We are pigs. Oink.
Judge not lest ye be judged.
Look at you monsters. If someone doesn’t buy into your shit, you immediately become defensive! And this is why the world is a rotten place. No love, just hate.
You certainly sound like an academic.
What did I write that suggested we’re at war with the public?
Maybe the police officers wouldn’t think that they were at war with the public if the public wouldn’t act like they were trying to create war with the police. You have things such as cop block (or whatever their called) jumping at the chance to accuse and verbally attack all police officers of the crimes of one. That in turn causes people who believe that to act hostile toward officers. Also, as seen in some of the videos above, the cops were attacked unjustly. If you see that as officers creating war, then you might be blind.
I’m not stupid, I’m simply trying to see things objectively, and what I see are humans. Humans, no matter what profession, make mistakes. They feel threatened, they feel happy, they feel sad, etc. The fact that they are police officers does not make them perfect and incapable of anything you or anybody else is capable of.
I’m not telling you to see things my way, but if you’re not doing anything to help the situation, then don’t make it worse by potentially brainwashing people who lack the intelligence to think for themselves.
Thank you! A heart-felt thank you from a retired Police Department chaplain – and God bless you!
This is the most reasonable, clear, and thorough explanation of WHAT happened and WHY, thank you for doing this, as now i have a website to send all of the “experts” on what happened at Ferguson to.
People react to police officers very differently than they do to pilots or surgeons. This is because of the large perceived power imbalance between a police officer and your average citizen. If a police officer decides at some point that someone needs to be stopped or even arrested, there is a very large mechanism in place to backstop that officer’s decision, and the officer gets the benefit of the doubt if it looks like the decision was not the best. With no countervailing mechanism in place to advocate for the average person, the perception is that police officers are protected in many ways while non-police are not. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but it’s out there.
I can agree with that. Thanks for the observation.
Eat a dick fascist. All we need to know is, you trigger happy nazi racist fucks could care less about anything other than your own ass and making revenue for whatever town or city you work for. Beyond that you treat the citizenry like enemy combatants in a warzone, and quite frankly, the majority of your ilk have the mental capacity of the average high school football player. #ACAB
Heh Nunya: I bet you didn’t even read the article. You don’t make points by swearing either. Wow, talk about narrow minded. Bet you’ve been behind bars a few times, huh?
What did you get it for?
Translation for Nunya: I either can’t read or I refuse to read because then I might just have to admit I was wrong.
But I bet you got a kick out of the videos where the cops got shot or beat by the bruthas
Dont break laws, and you wont have an issue
Are we really going to pretend that cops have never assaulted innocent people? How about a 12 year old girl beaten and accused of being a prostitute?http://www.zimbio.com/Dymond+Milburn/articles/2/12+Year+Old+Girl+Mistakenly+Arrested+Prostitution
I’ve served my country. I’ve been high exactly once, and the only crime I’ve ever actually committed was going 72 in a 55. But I’ve been arrested on my way to work for “fitting the description” twice, and despite perfectly complying with them, I’ve had my face rammed in the door intentionally.
We have a video of a man who was choked to death by a police officer. A man being beaten by half a dozen cops after he was handcuffed. A man lying down handcuffed shot by cops.
Ferguson isn’t the reason everyone is pissed. Ferguson is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The black community is used to the double whammy of both being regularly denied justice and being oppressed by law enforcement. And now, between Zimmerman and everything since, it seems that there is no penalty for killing a black person in this country.
At the very least, you have to be able to understand why they are pissed.
First, thank you for your service. Second, I did not defend all police actions in my essay. As I noted, I have serious issues with the Garner case (and I’m going to write about that one as well). And the South Carolina shooting, where a trooper shot an innocent black motorist for getting his license, is something everyone should be angry about. But this particular case was not evidence of racism, bias, or unfairness. Every time I write something police-related, the immediate reaction is that I’m defending everything all cops do. Please read the essay again. I’m talking about THIS case, and shooting down the most commonly cited pieces of “evidence” that supposedly prove the shooting was unjustified.
It is not clear that you are referring to just the Michael Brown case. You’ve made it clear that you believe untrained citizens have no ground whatsoever to speak up when these things happen. Yet you defend the Grand Jury in this case for doing just that. I’d be shocked if each juror was trained like you say they must be in order to make such decisions.
If you truly believe that you’ve written specifically to the Michael Brown case, you might be surprised the light in which people are sharing this article. It is being used as a blanket statement that all officer actions can be legitimatized.
Brotherhood and trust in these positions is paramount, but that brotherhood must include boundaries. When one or multiple officers are in the wrong, their peers need to step up for the entire police force and hold them accountable to the same laws any citizen would be.
If officers continue to stand behind their peers who are abusing their power, corruption in the system will continue to breed out of control.
Mad Duo I think you make a lot of valid points and I absolutely agree that there is no evidence of racism in the Brown case, However like the “Idiots” you describe as making a lot of assumptions and I mean this with all due respect but aren’t you doing the same thing in the Brown Case? Just because there wasn’t quite enough evidence for the Grand Jury to indict does not mean that there is not some evidence that at the very least could be legitimately argued. There are people who get convicted all the time and serve years from prison from seemingly overwhelming evidence to only get proven innocent later. The Brown case does not seem to be so incredibly cut and dry as you are making it out to be. So while there are definitely idiots who make crazy allegations there are still those of us who still underlying concerns about the case.
I did my best to show that I was only talking about the Brown case. Ferguson is in the title, and I specifically stated I myself have an issue with the Garner case. I also said I’m happy to answer questions, “But for god’s sake, at least try to find out what the hell you’re talking about before you broadcast your opinion to the entire world.”
My problem isn’t with people asking questions, it’s with people proclaiming falsehoods based on an absolute lack of training, experience or knowledge. If I’m going to inject my opinion into a debate about flying, it’s my responsibility to learn what I’m talking about before I proclaim my opinion as truth (especially if I’m talking to pilots).
In cases like this, grand jurors listen to testimony from multiple expert witnesses who explain the realities of firearms and lethal force encounters. That doesn’t make them experts, but it does make them well-informed on pertinent subjects. In my case, I’ve compared my own training, knowledge and experience with the publicly released information and opinion of actual experts like Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent DiMaio. All the evidence I’m aware of points to a justifiable use of force.
I actually would not be shocked at how my essay is being shared. Some will share it as an “always support the cops” message even though I’ve strongly criticized police actions in the past and mentioned my problems with the Garner case, and some will share it as a “all cops are racist murderers” message even though nothing I’ve written suggests racism or support for murder. One thing you learn as a writer, people will interpret your writing in the way that best benefits their prior beliefs. And in many cases you’re lucky if people even bother to read past the headline.
I agree with your statement about us having to hold our own accountable. I think that will be one positive outcome from this entire mess.
I will apologize for the tone of some of what I wrote (not all). I’m just as human as anyone else, and I get just as frustrated. I need to do a better job of encouraging communication between us cops and private citizens. And I’ve happily answered many, many questions about LE over the years. This essay wasn’t directed toward people who simply have questions, it was directed at people who have no training, experience or knowledge but think they know all the answers.
I hope that clears it up, and thank you for commenting.
Why does it even matter to you about there being no penalty for killing a “black” person?
The issue should be killing someone unjustly-which was not the case here. You are creating your own racial tension by assuming cops are oppressing blacks or anyone for their race. I’m sure there are cops who do stupid things and have bad judgement but trying to turn every incident where a black man dies at the hands of the police into a topic of race is retarted. I’m sure being in the military (which I thank you for) you had to work with people of all different races and backgrounds. Was this an issue for you too? What about black gangsters who targeted and killed a white cop in his home in IL?
Young black men die at the hands of cops at 20 times the rate of their white peers. The disparity in offending is not nearly that high. Black men get heavier sentences for the same crimes. This “la la la if you bring up race you’re the real racist” approach is ridiculous. The evidence is definitive: people act with racial bias (specifically, against blacks) in their decision-making. There is no reasonable question of this. It is perfectly reasonable to assume — given very different outcomes of police encounters for whites and blacks — that those same biases come into play there, as well.
That’s not true at all Rick.
– In 2012, 123 of the 43+ million black people in the United States were shot and killed by police. The total for white people? 326.
– In 2013, blacks committed 5,375 murders in America compared to 4,396 for white people, even though whites make up 63% of the population and blacks make up 13%.
– In 90% of the cases where a black person is murdered, the offender is also black.
– Over 99% of all police arrests do not result in someone being shot and killed.
– Police killings of blacks are down roughly 70% in the last 50 years.
Those are the same stats I’ve heard, but haven’t tracked down the source. Might you have a link?
If the black community is angered by the fact that Zimmerman killed a black man in self-defense, then the black community has a problem. Is the right to self-defense now to have “… unless the attacker is black” appended to its formulation?
Nunya, way to spout the blind hate dude. Paint with a wide brush much? Bigot much?
Your observations are so far off base as to be delusional.
Chris, extremely well written and well reasoned.
I need to write a comment that others will take seriously. I’ll start with “Eat a dick fascist.” Yeah. That’ll work out great.
Nunya’s comments are fair and provides just as compelling an argument for his views as the article. The difference: Nunya doesn’t skunk up what he thinks with bullshit evidence. As an academic, it is clear one can prove anything they’d like with enough examples. This essay defending US police brutality and violence fails to cite or acknowledge the COUNTLESS WORLDLY crimes solved, people protected, and justice served WITHOUT the use of extreme violence.
Violence begets violence. All of you in agreement with this essay on faux justice are hopelessly lost in a world of hate and subservience.
Facsists is right. “Police state? Yes please,” is what you’re all saying. Good luck.
I claimed unarmed people often commit murder. I proved it with documented incidents. I claimed people often require multiple rounds before being disabled or killed. I proved it with documented incidents. I claimed intermediate weapons often fail. I proved it with documented incidents. Please tell us what evidence I provided that was bullshit.
Since you’re an academic, I’m sure disproving my claims will be very easy for you.
Well, if that’s what you believe, that it’s “open season” on YOU, then don’t give them a reason to “make their day”. If they say “stop”, then STOP. If they say “get on the ground”, get on the ground. And if they say, “Walk on the sidewalk”, then get your stupid ass on the sidewalk. Now if you want to make a statement, if that’s important to you, then go ahead and be right, and get shot.
Most of us racist pigs have collage degrees and only about 8% of people who apply to become officers actually make it. Not compared to your wale fare friends im sure. This artical was long and full of information that is well above your education level so “eating a dick” was probably the most informed responce someone like you could come up with.
did you really just say “collage” degree? did you minor in decoupage?
Too many spelling errors to count. What Collage did you grad from?
Ouch on the spelling college degree!! I don’t agree with Nunya but your point would have been better made using spellcheck.
Wow, Nunya. Asshole much?
Nunya I bet u can’t resist arrest. Try it Pleasssssse
Hey it’s not healthy to hold things in Mr. Hernandez ;-).
But inappropriately joking aside I can’t understand the leap of failed logic with people on this myself either. I am not in law enforcement and neither believe that all LEO’s are saints nor sinners. I have been on the receiving end of a LEO’s who’s ego got the better of him (I contradicted him on waking me up in the middle of the night to try to convince me there was a party going on with a live band at my house, I disagreed, which was also a case of my own ego getting in the way as I was irritated that there was 6 county guys banging on my door at 3 am) LEO’s are people like everyone else.
In this case however if you sit down and read everything through its very obvious what happened. I think some people just do not have broad enough life experiences and are simply to narrow minded, in my experience the more “open minded” a person claims to be, usually the inverse is true and typically they live in a vacuum containing nothing other than likeminded people who are continually patting each other on the back confirming how smart and open minded they are. Some of these people I think need to take a real punch once or twice and get back to us on how an unarmed person can never beat someone with a big scary gun
But, my ranting aside, thanks for writing this as always, I like having people like you to point my son to and say, this is what a police officer really is.
Sir in my youth there were a few times I had been in the wrong side of the law but not once did I ever give the police a problem.
I complied to there request and found no harm came to me and the arresting officer stated that at my hearing witch helped me in my case.
To this day and being much older I still remember them for their advice.
I fear for all our police persons in this day and age when respect for people is almost non exsistent a may god bless you all.
I would not say I gave them a problem, I was actually pretty cordial until one of them plainly accused me of lying and even then I basically politely told him there was no way there was a party with a live band at my house with me and my wife asleep and my 87 year old grandmother asleep a few rooms away. It was one officer out of the six that was there in my living room. The other 5 figured it out pretty quick that it was basically just not what they had been led to believe was going on (aka nothing at all was going on). He just seized on the fact that I play the drums and we were talking in the room with my drums (covered in dust as I pointed out to him) basically one out of the six just took being wrong rather poorly, started threatening me in front of my son which i did not take well so i told him he was clearly way off and i did not appreciate being threatened and that it was time for him to leave unless he had other business, he basically walked out to his car yelling over his shoulder at me as the other 5 shuffled him off, i never raised my voice or threatened to talk to his superiors or anything. For all I know he just came from some really stressful situation and came in pre-stressed and mad. Excuse, no, but like I said, LEO’s are people to so it was a closed matter to me. I respect those who respect me, but even if I don’t respect you it does not mean I suddenly devolve into a savage. I was merely using it as an example that even though I have seen LEO’s behave in ways less than ideal, I still believe in them as a whole. Minor exceptions do not paint the whole and people need to realize that.
Thank you, Joe. I should point out that I’m not saying officers never do bad things; I’ve personally worked with three who were charged with sexual assault on duty, and two went to prison. I’ve written about the danger of out-of-control cop egos in the past.
The clearest, most precise,evidence provided
Explanation I have seen of the events in Ferguson. Great job explaining this. And thank you.
Sir, thank you for pointing out the some very valid points that most non-law enforcement citizens don’t realize. As a former corrections officer, I know that unarmed does not mean non-dangerous. Most people don’t know that the cops actions are dependent on the actions of the people they are interacting and that every cop has to make the decision that no matter what they are going home at the end of their shift.
Thank you for the support, but I have to point out that we shouldn’t go home at the end of our shift “no matter what”. There are times it’s better to die doing your job than survive at the cost of innocent lives.
Really?! Now this is the dumbass shit the man just spent pages talking about. You do just that….”don’t go home”, “no matter what”…try that out and let us know how it works for you????
Kim,you’re Either Drunk, high,or stupid OR all three.This so called Pages is the best mental picture of what police face Protecting Even Dumb Azz’s like you every day.
I’m sure Kim is long gone. Ranting about a very good article which all open minded people should read because our media and gov’t seem to desperately want to polarize our country about race not only after we have come far enough for people to make the mistake of voting someone in who uses it to hide behind.
Kim probably either comes from one of those schools where one can’t read their own name or is simply part of the population of people with IQ<80 and/or Democrat 🙂
Information like this rather than the super emotional zero critical thought posters is needed for those who would vote to give us more shackles. Thank you!
Really? I’d love to hear one example of this ideal.
9/11 might ring a bell also.
Active Shooter situation. Say a Sandy Hook type situation where the ‘go home at all cost’ response is sit outside, establish a perimeter and wait for back up. Like at Columbine. Or you could do as current procedures in many areas dictate. The first officers on the scene head in to confront the shooter. Sit outside and wait while shooting continues or head inside and possibly end it.
Or how about firefighters who head into burning buildings to pull people out? The ‘home at end of shift at all costs’ option would be to to ignore anyone who maybe inside and keep the fire from spreading to other buildings.
Exactly. We’re armed and trained, we should face the danger so others don’t have to.
I am also a retired Correctional Officer. Maybe I’m incorrect, but I interpret the “no matter what they are going home at the end of their shift” statement as being correct, when speaking in the context of dealing with the violent situation you are facing. Some here are reading something extra into it. In other words, no matter what I have to do to deal with this assailant, my safety (and by extension, the safety of my partners and those I protect) is paramount. If I go down, I can’t protect anyone. I’m not going to worry about what public opinion might be, what political pressure might come to bear… none of it matters if I let these things influence how I choose to respond, allowing the assailant to win. I didn’t interpret Correy’s statement to mean ONLY look out for yourself, but rather DON’T put the assailant’s well being or other opinions or issues before your own. Use whatever force is necessary, and live to go home and tell about it. The end result might be self sacrifice, but that sacrifice should only happen as a last resort to save others, not as a result of hesitation or fear of taking the necessary action. “No matter what” means no matter what this assailant does, I will do whatever it takes to be sure HE is not the only one who survives this encounter. If Officer Wilson had hesitated due to fear of “what might happen” he very likely would have ended up gravely injured or dead. Yes, we are the armed, trained, sworn protectors. It is our job to face the dangers so others don’t have to. But we face them with the ideal that “No matter what, the bad guy can’t win”, which hopefully means we go home at the end of the day.
I agree with the way you’re presenting it. The reason I clarified is that many in the public believe we aren’t willing to risk anything to protect them. In many online forums I’ve read references to the USC decision saying police aren’t required to protect private citizens (that being their interpretation of the decision, anyway). Some members of the public also point to Columbine, where hundreds of officers arrived and hours passed before the first officer entered the school, as evidence that we look out for ourselves before them. When we say “I go home, no matter what” we reinforce that perception that some of the public has. Even if we understand what we mean, we should do our best to ensure the public knows we’re dedicated to defend them, not just ourselves.
Thank you for commenting, and for your service.
What innocent life was taken in this incident?
I would like to add a bit that I read in an article yesterday by the washington post (crazy reading an unbiased article by a media outlet I know) but anyways … along the lines of your point that an unarmed suspect can and absolutely sometimes attack armed cops for totally irrational reasons…
the physical evidence including several witnesses testimony placed Michael Brown somewhere around 48 feet futher out than where he eventually fell. At that point he turned around and made movement toward the armed officer who began the first of the 6 series of shots – then paused for 2-3 seconds when Brown paused and continued with the remaining 4 shots until Brown was finally stopped by the fatal shot. The audio from the video chat call placed the total time between shot 3 and shot 10 (all except the two at the car) in a timeframe of about 6.5 seconds…..the article explains this in very good detail – with specific references to page numbers in the grand jury documents btw…… that it means that Michael Brown traveled approximately 48 feet in 6.5 seconds with a 2-3 second pause in the middle…also that Wilson had been back pedaling about 15 feet or so at the time as well…. .
So for anyone that thinks he wasn’t ‘charging’ the cop or had his arms up or any other false statement…..pull out a stopwatch and have a person almost twice your size cover that distance in that short of time so you can see what it looks like……
Regardless of where his hands are, he was moving very fast towards the cop while being shot with .40 cal bullets which reasonably tranlates to an extremely aggressive action.
With only his previous actions at the car with Wilson (i.e. even if the cop knew of no prior criminal activity) there is no way any rational person – cop or not – would interpret those actions in any other way other than very agressive and life threatening….
Out of the two suspects, the only halfway rational action made was Johnson fleeing then ducking behind the car when the shots started.
No rational person would continue charging an armed and shooting cop while being unarmed himself unless he was going to try to tackle him and beat the crap out him which he already tried to do. He probably figured getting shot by a cop would add to his street credit…again totally irrational…
People need to face the facts that although a human life has ended (due to his own actions) another life will never be the same as well. Wilson will forever be known as ‘that white cop that shot an unarmed black kid’ despite only trying to do his job and protect himself and has since lost his career as well.
We as a society (from whatever background, race etc.) Need to stop blaming other for choices we made and take responsibility for our own actions and consequences.
I also immensely applaude the cops and forces that continue to try to keep the peace in places where people refuse to educate themselves in the truth, and risk their lives for people who wont even act rationally much do the same for them. They are much better people than the rest of us and for that I am thankful and hopeful.
Thank you very much for that.
A well written thoughtful article filled with solid facts and thought provoking material. A must read to all who need to understand law enforcement.